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Discover the Herpes Zoster vaccine: how it works
– how to remain healthy, health related news, latest symptoms and treatments.

Shingles, also known as “shingles,” is a viral disease that can cause significant discomfort and health complications for those affected. In Brazil, prevention through vaccination is an important measure, with two vaccine options available: attenuated and inactivated recombinant. Understanding the differences between these vaccines is crucial to making informed decisions about protection against this infectious disease.

Two options, two approaches

The Zostavax vaccine, manufactured by MSD, is an older, attenuated vaccine. It contains a weakened version of the varicella-zoster virus and is about 51% effective against shingles. However, due to its composition, it is not recommended for immunosuppressed people. On the other hand, the inactivated recombinant vaccine, Shingrix, manufactured by GSK, is a newer and more effective option. It consists of a virus protein combined with the AS01 adjuvant, without containing the active virus, making it safe for immunocompromised people. Its effectiveness is approximately 91%.

Who should get vaccinated

Indications for each vaccine vary slightly. Zostavax is recommended for everyone over 50 years of age, except for those who are immunosuppressed, pregnant or have severe allergies to the components of the vaccine. On the other hand, the Shingrix vaccine is recommended for people over 50 years of age and also for immunocompromised people or those at high risk of shingles over 18 years of age.

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Herpes Zoster Vaccine (Photo: reproduction/ Buda Mendes/ Getty Images)


The dose schedule also differs between the two vaccines. Zostavax is administered in a single, subcutaneous dose, while Shingrix requires two intramuscular doses, with an interval of two months between them. It is critical to consider medical history and individual conditions when opting for vaccination, especially for those with immunosuppression or other medical conditions.

It is important to note that both vaccines can cause mild to moderate reactions, such as pain at the injection site, fatigue and headache. It is essential to be aware of these possible side effects and report any unusual symptoms to your healthcare professional.

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In Brazil, vaccines against herpes zoster are not available in the SUS and can be found in private vaccination services, with prices varying according to the supplier. By understanding the available options and specific indications, an informed and effective choice can be made to protect against shingles, thereby reducing the risk of complications and improving quality of life.

Featured Photo: herpes zoster vaccine (Reproduction/Getty Images)

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