CDC endorses new shingles vaccine for people over 50

Share this content:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed a new recombinant zoster vaccine for shingles prevention in those over 50, saying it is more effective than a live attenuated version.

The new recommendation was included in the latest Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations.

"Healthcare providers now have a new and highly effective tool to prevent shingles and its complications,” Kathleen L. Dooling, M.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, told Reuters Health. “The recombinant zoster vaccine is over 90% effective, even among the elderly.”

Dooling offered specific guidance on the use of both vaccine types in adults online in the January 26 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The new recombinant vaccine, available since October, consists of two intramuscular doses administered 2 to 6 months apart. The CDC's cost-effectiveness analysis found vaccination with RZV prevented more disease at a lower overall cost than did vaccination with ZVL, in most situations.

RZV can provide substantial protection against herpes zoster for more than four years and is approved for people with a history of herpes zoster, people with chronic medical conditions, and those on low-dose immunosuppressive therapy or recovering from an immuno-compromising illness.

Commonly known as shingles for its localized, often painful rash, herpes zoster is caused by the latent varicella zoster virus. Its occurrence increases with age, from five cases per 1,000 in adults aged 50 to 59 years to 11 cases per 1,000 in people over 80.