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Old 11-01-2006, 08:42 AM   #1
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Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

I just found out my insurance company will cover this vaccine for those over 60 years old. Before I get it, I'm wondering if anyone who's had it developed any side effects other than a sore arm? Since it's fairly new, I'm not sure I want to rush out to get it.

 
Old 02-07-2007, 08:22 AM   #2
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

When I went for my physical last month, I asked for it (since I was already getting a the flu and pneumonia shots and tetanus booster). It is new and my Dr didnt have it, but I will get it as soon as it comes in. It's really just a 'super' chicken pox shot which means it is a live vaccine (given in the back of your arm,rather than in your upper arm) but soreness at the site, if any, is about the only side effect expected.

 
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Old 02-07-2007, 10:54 AM   #3
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

I assume you're over 60? I'm getting mine in May, but I wonder why I have to have bloodwork first (something about antibodies). This is a big city, but the Zoster vax is only available thru the Health Dept. I have several friends who have had shingles and it sounds horrible.

NCGuy, would you post back after your innoculation and let us know how it goes, please.

 
Old 02-07-2007, 03:38 PM   #4
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

I have shingles right now. It is horrid, absolutely terrible. It feels horrid and looks worse. It started out with intense pain in ribcage front and back on one side. Felt a little like I was getting flu, too. Nothing on the skin, though and I thought I pulled muscles. After several days tiny pink dots appeared on upper abdomen. I knew then what was up.......... That was Sunday. Monday I went to the doctor's first thing. He confirmed what I knew and it was in full bloom by then. Today blisters are there and it's itchy. In days to come blisters will pop or crust over and eventually fall off -- this whole thing could take four weeks! Long term pain can result for months or years -- it's worse if you are over 60.

The worst part was the feeling of being hit by a truck for four days, super intense pain, as you feel after a surgery. Vicodin did little for it. I had two abdominal surgeries and this is exactly how I felt then. Pain is intense and you can't sleep -- doesn't even feel like it's skin related -- it's all about the nerves. You feel like electric jolts are going up and down your back on the affected side (or in your shoulder or God forbid, on your face if that is affected -- it's usually confined to one area of your body).

Being around the rib cage on left side I felt like I could not breathe -- the pain took my breath away; I was gasping at times. But I knew it was not a heart attack. Many folks think they are having heart issues, or gall bladder attack, or appendicitis -- it's that bad.

After four nights of no sleep I did sleep last night probably thanks to Valtrex, the anti-viral doc prescribed Monday. Take the pills 3X a day for 7 days, plus some Vicodin for intense pain. I'm already off of that for the most part and using aspirin. Flu-like feelings are disappearing. Valtrex can cause headache and stomach pains and problems and do have them but they are mild and short lived.

Trust me, you don't wish this on your worst enemy. I am just now turning 58 and the doc just turned 60 and said he got the vaccine against shingles right away. Too late for me; I was hoping to hit 60 and then get the vaccine. Unless you've had asthma or a few other serious issues, at age 60 you can get this vaccine and I highly recommend running out to get it. Sore arm, swelling at injection site, other mild symptoms are all that's been reported. Studies were done for several years so though this is only about a year old there is some history on it already.

I am exhausted and soon the intense itching and burning of the blisters will start as they begin to heal. My own mother had this at age 62 and it was a nightmare for her because at that time they did not have the anti-virals for herpes zoster/shingles.

My advice: GO GET THE VACCINE AGAINST SHINGLES IF YOU ARE 60 and HAD CHICKEN POX AS A CHILD. I doubt you will regret it.

 
Old 02-07-2007, 04:00 PM   #5
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

Oh my, cheer up, I feel so bad for you, but glad you posted, 'cause I was considering cancelling the vaccination. Can I ask if you have an immune disorder? Shingles seems worse for those who do. Maybe I need the antibody blood workup because I have asthma and lung disease--but my immune system is very strong.

Will you be able to get the vaccination after you recover?

 
Old 02-08-2007, 04:56 PM   #6
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

To "hypatia"

No, I have no immune disorder that I know of. From what I've read, shingles that are generalized around the body are often from such a problem; mine are bad but are in the typical area of trunk around the back to spine on one side only.

I called the pharmacist last night because after taking the Valtrex anti-viral pills for a few days, I noticed extreme skin sensitivity, like raw nerves, in left arm and hand and leg, on the inside of each of those mostly. Pharmacist said it's not from the drug, but part of the pain syndrome and it's on the same side as the actual shingles. I have to tough it out.

He also said something interesting: He said shingles is more common than we know, and that even if one has already had them before age 60, it is becoming more common for doctors to prescribe the vaccination against shingles because, unlike chicken pox, they often come BACK again, often more than once. In that respect, they are like the herpes simplex that causes genital herpes.

He recommends people check with their doctor at age 60 whether or not they've already experienced shingles, so that's what I would do. I would not want this again, even in a milder form.

Do you recall that David Letterman had shingles at age 55 and had to be away from his show for nearly month? He apparently had them on his face and was very grateful to his dermatologist for "saving his face." When he returned to work, Billy Crystal was on the show and said he, too, had shingles at age 55. So I don't feel so bad at having them at nearly 58.

A friend's son had them in mid twenties and I know of others who've had them in 30's and forties. It's not just attacking the seniors!

Again, I'd probably get the vaccine if my doctor appoved of it, and I think he would since he already said he ran to get it when turning 60.

 
Old 02-09-2007, 08:14 AM   #7
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

Thank you, cheer up. Your input is really appreciated. You have been through so much and I truly hope your recovery is swift.

 
Old 02-09-2007, 01:14 PM   #8
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

I turned 59 the end of September. The doctor told me I could go ahead and get it as soon as they had it. I'm going back Mar 2 for a follow-up and will get it then if its come in. They didnt mention anything about any bloodwork having to be done prior to the vaccination.

 
Old 03-11-2008, 09:07 AM   #9
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

I would like to point out, that Zostavax can cause shingles. I was a healthy 64 year old male who received the Zostavax vaccine on 2/5/08. Ten days later, my doctor diagnosed me with "classic shingles". He put me on Valtrex for 7 days and I am still (1 month later) suffering with red spots on my (right) chest, pain in my right arm and shoulder, and severe itching. I notified Merck and my doctor also did! I read Merck's "double blind" studies, and nowhere does it simply say: this vaccine can cause you to contract shingles. I have all the documentation as well as pictures. Please caution anyone who wants to gamble with their health.

 
Old 10-23-2008, 01:54 PM   #10
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

definitely not just for the older crowd. i'm 26 and am currently wanting to jump out my window due to shingles...

f.y.i. i'm not really considering jumping out my window. but it does suck.

 
Old 10-23-2008, 11:13 PM   #11
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlrand View Post
I would like to point out, that Zostavax can cause shingles. I was a healthy 64 year old male who received the Zostavax vaccine on 2/5/08. Ten days later, my doctor diagnosed me with "classic shingles". He put me on Valtrex for 7 days and I am still (1 month later) suffering with red spots on my (right) chest, pain in my right arm and shoulder, and severe itching. I notified Merck and my doctor also did! I read Merck's "double blind" studies, and nowhere does it simply say: this vaccine can cause you to contract shingles. I have all the documentation as well as pictures. Please caution anyone who wants to gamble with their health.
dlrand: Thank you so much for your posting on this thread. My doctor wants to give me this shingles vaccination. I told him, I am afraid I will get shingles from it because I never know that I have had chicken pox or not since my parents already passed away a long time ago and I was never told about it. I am worry that if I never have chicken pox and putting this vaccine, I might get shingles instead.
Even though my doctor told me it will be OK, I still don't trust him. I think he just want to do it for the money because he was anxious to do it at that time when I came to see him for another health problem. (not check-up)

So after reading your post, I won't do it!!!!
If you happen to read this post, I have a question for you. Before your shingles vaccination, have you ever gotten a chicken pox in the past?

Last edited by Lynn8; 10-24-2008 at 10:50 PM.

 
Old 10-24-2008, 08:22 AM   #12
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

You can't get shingles unless you've already had chicken pox.

 
Old 10-24-2008, 11:02 PM   #13
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by janewhite1 View Post
You can't get shingles unless you've already had chicken pox.
Janewhite:
Thank you for telling me this.
After I read your post, I search all websites about Zostavax and found an article that said a person could get chickenpox after having Zostavax(shingles vaccine) if the person never have chickenpox before.
So you were correct, I won't get shingles from Zostavax but I could get chickenpox instead.

 
Old 01-17-2009, 11:39 AM   #14
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

I'm on waiting list at our county health dept."seems like vaccine in in short supply"at least in Ohio.My insurance co.Medical Mutal, will not pay for vaccine (told about $165.) unless your under 60 and it's really recommended for those over 60.That makes no sense at all.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:23 AM   #15
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Re: Zostavax (shingles vaccine) Question

My husband is 42 years old and is suffering right now with Shingles. I am 40 and as soon as I can find the vaccination I am getting it. It pains me to see him in the worst pain he has ever been in. Valtrex and Vicoden are not helping much. He can not sleep. Itching extremely bad but cannot scratch. He has never been sick except for a few colds here and there. The doctor says its stress related only because they are unsure what triggers it. My advice "GET THE SHOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

 
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