Experts Recommend Shingrix Over Zostavax Shingles VaccineOctober 27, 2017 — A panel of immunization experts has recommended a new shingles vaccine called Shingrix® over an older vaccine called Zostavax®.

The experts are also recommending that people who were vaccinated with Zostavax should be re-vaccinated with Shingrix.

Shingrix was approved by the FDA on October 20 for the prevention of shingles in adults aged 50 years and older. Within days, an advisory panel expressed preference for Shingrix over Zostavax for all Americans over 50.

Shingrix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, is the first alternative to Zostavax, manufactured by Merck & Co., and it is expected to become the vaccine of choice for preventing shingles. Merck is facing several lawsuits from people who were injured by Zostavax.

There are few major advantages to Shingrix. Unlike Zostavax, it does not contain a live virus, so it is not capable of causing severe infections with Varicella in immunocompromised adults.

There have been reports of patients who died after receiving Zostavax because they were too sick to fight off the virus. Zostavax is not recommended for patients on medications that prevent activity of the immune system, such as anti-inflammatory corticosteroids.

Shingrix is also more effective and provides 85% protection for up to 4 years, unlike Zostavax. Zostavax only prevented singles in 51% of people who were vaccinated, while Shingrix was is 97% effective for people between 50 and 69 and 91% effective for people 70 or older.

Another major advantage is that Shingrix does not require refrigeration, unlike Zostavax, which means it can be marketed in parts of the world where access to refrigeration is unreliable.

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