Shingles vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug administration for people over 50 years. However, only less than about 10% of people in this age group have been vaccinated so far.
- The researchers studied medical records of 193,083 people aged 50 yrs and above.
- They were given shingles vaccine.
- Participants were followed for 6 weeks post vaccination.
- Researchers found no increase in heart disease, stroke, meningitis, heart attack, or encephalitis.
- The participants were monitored for complications of herpes zoster infection like Bell’s palsy and Ramsay Hunt syndrome. There was no increased risk.
- Common side effect was redness or swelling at site of injection.
The study has been published in the Journal of Internal Medicine. The lead author of the study, Hung Fu Tseng, researcher with Kaiser Permanente Southern California is quoted as saying, ‘If we look at the data, we don’t see any risk of serious adverse events following the vaccination’.
Shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus. The condition presents itself as a skin rash caused due to nerve and skin inflammation. The virus is the causative agent of chicken pox, it remains dormant in the nervous system of patients and under circumstances of immune deficiency or emotional stress, gets reactivated to cause shingles. Over 1,000,000 cases of shingles occur each year in the US.