New Vaccines Approved to Help Combat Shingles

By Nicole Loranger

The US Food and Drug Administration has just approved two new shots aimed at preventing the development of herpes zoster, the common skin condition colloquially known as shingles. Shingles is a painful, blistering skin rash caused by varicella-zoster, the same virus responsible for the chicken pox. Typically seen in adults above the age of 50, shingles presents itself after years of dormancy, and years after the person had any initial contact with the virus. Generally, the afflicted patch of skin will become particularly sensitive to touch, later developing into the tell-tale rash. Since the condition can only affect those in whom the virus already exists in dormancy (i.e. those who have previously had either chicken pox or the chicken pox vaccine), the rash is not generally considered contagious. However, it is particularly unpleasant, and a relatively prevalent issue among older adults. The newly released vaccines are designed to reduce the pain and severity of the disease as well as prevent undesirable side effects, according to Dr. Rosamilia, a board-certified dermatologist. The vaccines target specific age groups, those above 50 and those above 60. The decision to separate these ages groups and design separate vaccines for each was not elaborated on in the article. 


American Academy of Dermatology. (2018, February 16). Shot may help shield against shingles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2018 from