The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved a new and effective vaccine to prevent Shingles infection in adults above 50 years of age. The vaccine, known as Shingrix, is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and it is the second one to be introduced in the US market after Merck Company launched the first one in 2006.

According to Dr. Thomas Breuer, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of GlaxoSmithKline, the introduction of Shingrix shows that scientific research in the field of vaccinology is advancing.

The approval of Shingrix was based on phase three clinical trial program that evaluated the safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of this vaccine in at least 38,000 people.

The analysis of these studies revealed that Shingrix was effective against shingles infection in all age groups.

On October 25, 2017, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in its meeting will vote on the recommendation for the use of Shingrix. This pending recommendation allows Shingrix to be temporally available. Plans are underway to approve Shingrix vaccine in Japan, European Union, and Australia.

Shingrix

Shingrix is a vaccine that uses a combination of several ingredients such as glycoprotein E, an antigen, an adjuvant system to create an effective immune response against shingles as people age. Shingrix is not only used to prevent shingles infections but also to ease the pain in your nerves. According to Glaxo studies, the vaccine is more effective in preventing shingles up to four years after it has been administered.

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Not everyone can use this vaccine; those who are allergic to any ingredients in the vaccine or had a reaction to a previous dosage of Shingrix are not allowed to use it. Shingrix has not been approved to prevent chickenpox.

Symptoms and side effects

A virus known as varicella-zoster is responsible for causing shingles infection. This virus also causes chickenpox infection. Shingles infections may disappear within three weeks after a person has been exposed to the virus. It is rare for a person to have this disease more than once but according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 3 people in the US have this disease in their lifetime.

The initial symptom of shingles infection is pain and burning. The pain is normally on one side of your body. Other symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Red patches and blisters on your skin
  • A rash on the skin

Despite its effectiveness, Shingrix causes side effects such as:

  • It causes swellings and redness at the place of injection.
  • A headache, fever, and pain in the muscles are other side effects of this vaccine.