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

ar in the United States. Shingles is a painful condition that can last months or years and can seriously impact quality of life. Shingles is caused by the dormant chickenpox virus, which stays in the body after a person has recovered from chickenpox. The virus can reactivate and replicate and cause shingles and damage to the nerve system. The elderly are especially vulnerable because as we age, our immunity against the virus that causes shingles declines.

"The risk of developing shingles during a lifetime is about 30 percent. It is therefore reassuring to confirm results of the original clinical trial that herpes zoster vaccine is effective at preventing this painful disease," said study co-author Rafael Harpaz, MD, MPH, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "Although that trial was well done, one cannot be sure a vaccine works outside a research setting until you evaluate it in routine medical practices. In addition, our study also provided new information that the vaccine worked to prevent shingles involving the eye, which can result in very serious complications."

Researchers conducted a retrospective observational study that looked at 75,761 vaccinated and 227,283 unvaccinated male and female members of Kaiser Permanente in Southern California from 2007 to 2009, using electronic health records to compare the incidence of shingles of the vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. Results remained after taking into account differences in sex, race, chronic diseases, and prior utilization.

This is the latest in a series of published Kaiser Permanente studies undertaken to better understand vaccine effectiveness and safety. Dr. Tseng published another study in JAMA that found the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination is not associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks or strokes. Another Kaiser Permanente study found the combination vaccine for me
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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