Shingles Vaccine: Maximizing its Effectiveness

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.

Concerned you may have shingles or interested in learning more about shingles? To schedule an appointment with Dr. Zimmet, call (512) 485-7700.

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