December 28, 2017

Sebastian Provider Comments on New Shingles Vaccine - Vero News

When the FDA approved GlaxoSmithKline’s new Shingrix vaccine for shingles last month, it also took the extraordinary step of recommending it replace the existing Zostavax shingles vaccine.

A tsunami of good press promptly followed.

The New York Times quoted Dr. Rafael Harpaz, a veteran shingles researcher at the Centers for Disease Control, as saying “this really is a sea change” in the prevention of shingles, and Dr. William Schaffner, a preventive disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who claimed “this vaccine has spectacular initial protection rates in every age group. The immune system of a 70- or 80 year-old responds as if the person were only 25 or 30.”

The Washington Post added, “Shingrix is 97 percent effective against shingles for those 50 to 59 years old, compared to about 70 percent for Zostavax, data show. For those in their 60s, the new vaccine is 97 percent effective, compared to 64 percent for Zostavax. For those in their 70s, Shingrix is 91 percent effective, compared to about 41 percent for Zostavax.”

Not to be outdone, the Times then ran another article a few days later with the headline: “No excuses, people: get the new shingles vaccine.”

“I think it may turn out to be a great vaccine,” says Dr. Brenda Field at Barefoot Bay Internal Medicine and the Steward Health Group at Sebastian River Medical Center Field. She tempers her enthusiasm by adding, “I think it boils down to a little bit about how cautious you are about adopting early things and how much risk you personally feel you are at for shingles.