Q:

What are the pros and cons of the shingles vaccine?

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Quick Answer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults over age 60 get the shingles vaccine, with exceptions for individuals who have allergies to components of the vaccine, have a weakened immune system, or are or may become pregnant. Side effects of the vaccine are mild.

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What are the pros and cons of the shingles vaccine?
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Full Answer

Pros for receiving the shingles vaccine include a 50 percent reduced likelihood of contracting shingles for the duration of the vaccine's effectiveness, estimated at about six years, according to the CDC. Older people, especially those over 60, experience more severe cases of shingles than younger people. The vaccine also reduces the severity of the illness for those that contract it, according to WebMD.

Possible cons of the vaccine include side effects such as a chickenpox-style rash, soreness, swelling, itching or redness at the injection site, according to the CDC. Some patients who receive the vaccine experience headaches. Despite the rash, people who receive the shingles vaccine do not infect others with chickenpox.

Even adults who have had chickenpox or shingles in the past should receive the shingles vaccine, although people currently suffering from shingles should not get the vaccine until the rash has cleared up, according to the CDC. The shingles vaccine does not protect against other forms of herpes.

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