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Shingles Vaccine Associated With 55 Percent Reduced Risk of Disease
Date:1/11/2011

PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Receiving the herpes zoster vaccine was associated with a 55 percent reduced risk of developing shingles, according to a Kaiser Permanente study of 300,000 people that appears in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This retrospective study observed the outcomes of the effectiveness of the herpes zoster vaccine in a large, diverse population of men and women ages 60 years and older. Researchers found a significant reduced risk of shingles across all sub-groups -- those who are healthy as well as those with chronic conditions including diabetes or heart, lung or kidney diseases.

These study findings differ from the clinical trial of the vaccine, which observed its effectiveness on 38,000 participants 60 years of age and older and found it less effective for people older than 75. This new study found a 55 percent reduced risk of shingles among both adults 60 years and older, as well as adults 75 years and older who received the vaccine.

These findings support Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to offer the vaccine to eligible patients of all ages, including those over 75. Researchers note that additional examination of the vaccine's effect in the oldest group should continue. The herpes zoster vaccine was licensed in 2006, but uptake in the United States remains low: about 10 percent in 2009 in adults 60 years and older.

"Our study shows the vaccine has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of cases of shingles, a painful, lingering disease," said study lead author Hung Fu Tseng, PhD, MPH, a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research & Evaluation in Pasadena, Calif. "We suggest clinicians follow the CDC's recommendations to talk to their patients about the option of vaccination against this serious condition."

There are more than 1 million episodes of shingles every ye
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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