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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Do I Need a Shingles Vaccine?

Posted By: Advancing Care

As seen in the September/October 2019 issue of Advancing Care

Yes, if you’re over 50, says Harlan Rozenberg, DO, a family medicine physician at MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), in Poughkeepsie.

You may still get shingles with the vaccine, but it will likely be less severe and shorter-lived. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Before the widespread use of the chickenpox vaccine in the 1990s, kindergartners viewed the disease as a rite of passage. But the virus can lie dormant in the nervous system for years and then erupt into shingles, which is typically marked by an itchy, painful rash that can scar the skin, says Dr. Rozenberg.

So popular is the new shingles vaccine that it’s actually in short supply. And, unlike the previous “live” vaccine, the new shingles vaccine, called Shingrix, can be given to a larger portion of the population.

About 1.2 million Americans get shingles annually, “which may not sound like much in a country with 330 million people, but as the years accumulate, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates nearly one in three people will get shingles in their lifetime,” he says. “That’s a lot.”

Visit us at MidHudson Regional Hospital, a member of Westchester Medical Center Health Network, to learn more. Advancing Care. Here.

Do you have a health-related question for a WMCHealth physician or specialist?

Email your questions to [email protected], with “Just the Facts” in the subject heading. Your question may be featured in a future issue.