Is There a Vaccine for Shingles?
In May 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new shingles vaccine to prevent shingles. The vaccine, called Zostavax®, is approved for people 50 years of age and older who have had chickenpox but who have not had shingles. Shingles research scientists estimate the vaccine could prevent 250,000 cases of shingles that occur in the United States each year and significantly reduce the severity of the disease in another 250,000 cases annually.
In clinical trials, the shingles vaccine prevented shingles in about half of the people over the age of 60. It was more effective in people between the ages of 60 and 69 than in older groups. For example, in people ages 60 to 69, about 70 percent did not develop shingles. About 40 percent of people between 70 and 79 did not develop shingles. The effects of the shingles vaccine were studied up to four years. Therefore, its ability to prevent shingles beyond four years is not known.