Harvard Men's Health Watch

Shingles vaccination pros and cons

Experts recommend that everyone 60 and older get the vaccine for shingles, a painful rash caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus. The vaccine is safe, but can be costly if not covered by insurance. The chief benefit of the vaccine is that it helps prevent an uncommon but serious complication of shingles: persistent nerve pain after the rash clears up, known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). PHN can be very painful as well as hard to treat. Vaccination is not as effective in older people because their immune systems tend to weaken over time. Over all, in those 60 and older the vaccine cuts the risk of shingles by 50%.
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