The herpes zoster vaccine, better known as the shingles vaccine and recommended for adults 60 and older, cuts the risk of getting the painful disease by 55%, new research finds.
“Compared to childhood vaccines, people would [probably] think 55% is not too impressive, because many childhood vaccines are in the range of 80% to 90% [effective],” says researcher Hung Fu Tseng, PhD, MPH, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
However, he tells WebMD, the 55% risk reduction ”is pretty high compared to other adult vaccines.”
Getting the vaccine makes it less likely that adults will get the painful rash that can occur when the varicella zoster virus, which causes childhood chickenpox, reactivates to cause shingles. The associated pain can last months or even years.
About a million episodes of shingles, sometimes debilitating, occur in the U.S. annually, Tseng says