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Shingrix vaccine is now available

SandiaBuddy's picture
Posts: 1172
Joined: Apr 2017

About one in three people in the US will develop shingles--a painful skin infection that affects people who had chicken pox as children.  ( https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/overview.html )  People who have had cancer or chemotherapy have a 10-50% greater chance of developing shingles.  ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5518853/ )  A new vaccine is now available that provides about 90% effectiveness over a five year period.  I got my first shot today.


Having a previous cancer diagnosis was associated with a modest, but clear increase in the odds of zoster, but there was substantial heterogeneity in the association according to type of malignancy. The largest associations were observed between haematological malignancies and subsequent odds of zoster, with lymphoma and leukaemia associated with a more than doubling in the odds of zoster in adjusted models, and myeloma associated with a 4.24-fold increase in odds. 11 out of 18 of the solid (non-haematological) cancers investigated were also positively associated with subsequent zoster risk; the largest association was with CNS cancer (adjusted OR=2.31), while oral, oesophageal, stomach, colorectal, lung, breast, ovarian, prostate, kidney, and bladder cancers were also each associated with 10–50% increases in odds of zoster. This association between cancer and zoster was larger among younger patients, and for several malignancies the association varied by time since diagnosis, typically peaking within 3 years after malignancy diagnosis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5518853/

ThomasH's picture
Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2016

Thanks Sandia, I always appreciate your research.


Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6694
Joined: Feb 2009

Oh how I've wanted this shot for years and because I'm not 60 yet my insurance won't cover it so I'm responsible for the total cost of the shot which was too expensive.  I've begged the insurance company to let me get it but they wouldn't budge.  I've got little to no immune system left because of chemo and radiation.  My white count is always so low when having a blood test they want to do it over again.  Wish that insurance would allow a cancer patient to get this earlier.  Thanks for the info.  Glad you got your shot.  I've heard it is very painful.  We've been through enough - we don't need to go through this too.


SandiaBuddy's picture
Posts: 1172
Joined: Apr 2017

You might ask with this new shot that I think they recommend it for people over 50 (I think they used 60 for the old shot).  My insurance covered 100% without argument.  My arm was sore (like being punched hard) for 24 hours, but other than that I had no reaction. 

Posts: 86
Joined: Oct 2015

Thank you for this information.  My new (non-cancer) doctor told me about this new vaccine at my appointment in December and she was recommending it, although she never mentioned the increase in the odds as per the study you referenced.  Great information.

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