A simple tip to get maximum protection from the shingles vaccine: wait until you are at least 60 to get it. That is the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) after reviewing newly released data from Merck’s Long-Term Persistence Study for shingles.
Though the FDA approved herpes zoster vaccine (HZV) for 50-59 year olds in 2011, research* has shown a gradual decrease in shingles vaccine efficacy by 6-7 years after vaccination. For those vaccinated in their 50s, then, the effectiveness of the vaccine would be waning by the time they reach their 60s, when the risk for a breakout is greater.
“At this time, there is insufficient evidence supporting long-term protection of the vaccine, so if people younger than 60 [years] are vaccinated, they might not be protected when chance of disease is highest,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, chairman of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Herpes Zoster Working Group
- Merck’s Long-Term Persistence Study for shingles.
- Shingles Prevention Study
- Persistence of the efficacy of zoster vaccine in the shingles prevention study and the short-term persistence substudy.