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Q&A: Shingles Vaccine

I am debating getting the shingles vaccine and hope you can advise me. I had shingles 12 years ago—despite starting antiviral medications before the rash developed, the blisters appeared on my face and I suffered moderate loss of vision in my right eye. I have had many vaccinations without undue side effects, but given that I have already had shingles, is it worth me getting vaccinated against the condition?

I strongly recommend you get vaccinated, since it is possible for shingles to recur. Of course, no vaccine provides a 100 percent guarantee of protection—however, studies have suggested that the shingles vaccine (Shingrix®) is highly effective at preventing shingles and also confers protection against the long-term nerve pain that can develop after shingles. Shingrix® consists of two shots given two to six months apart. You may experience pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, and some people have reported fatigue, fever, chills, and nausea for a few days afterward. If you experience side effects after the first shot, try not to be deterred from getting the second one, since a full course is required for full protection.

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