Here is what the Mayo Clinic website says about the Shingles vaccine. Now they say you can have the vaccine, even if you've had shingles before. Hmmm. I may have to show my doctor this! Why wouldn't Canada approve this? Who knows? Right?
Sue in Vancouver USA
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults age 60 and older should receive the shingles vaccine (Zostavax), whether or not they have had shingles previously. The vaccine is not approved for use in adults younger than age 60. Also, adults with certain kinds of immune deficiencies should not receive the shingles vaccine.
Getting the shingles vaccine doesn't guarantee you won't get shingles. But if you do get shingles, this vaccine will likely reduce the duration and severity of the disease and reduce your risk of postherpetic neuralgia, a debilitating, painful complication of shingles. In a clinical trial involving thousands of adults 60 years and older, Zostavax reduced the risk of getting shingles by 51 percent in study participants who were vaccinated. In addition, it reduced the risk of postherpetic neuralgia by 67 percent in those who were vaccinated.
The shingles vaccine is a live vaccine given as a single injection, usually in the upper arm. The most common side effects of the shingles vaccine are redness, pain, tenderness and swelling at the injection site and headaches.
The shingles vaccine isn't recommended if you:
Have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin or any other component of the shingles vaccine
Have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system
Are receiving medical treatments Ã¢â‚¬â€ such as steroids, adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), etanercept (Enbrel), radiation or chemotherapy Ã¢â‚¬â€ which impair the immune system.
Have a history of cancer involving the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma
Have active, untreated tuberculosis
Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant
In some cases, the cost of the shingles vaccine may not be covered by Medicare or insurance. Check your plan.