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More shingles vaccine questions
Jul 17, 2008

I read your recent answer on this topic and have the following questions, first, if you were vaccinated against chickenpox (I was vaccinated in 1999) should you still get the shingles vaccine? Second, for how long should I stop using my Valtrex before I can take the shingles vaccine? I am in my mid forties and asymptomatic, with 19% percentage.

Response from Dr. Moyle

The shingle vaccine, Zostavax, is approved for use in people 60 years old and older to prevent shingles. This is a one-time vaccination. Zostavax does not treat shingles or post-herpetic neuralgia. It has not been fully studied in persons with HIV. Some data exist, mainly in children, indicating that the Varicella vaccine (Varivax) cab be used in prsons with HIV and healthy immune systems. It is indicated for persons with no history of childhood chicken pox and provided prolonged prtection. The zoster vaccine package insert makes no reference to varicella history, and almost all persons 60 years old or older are immune to varicella. Thus, prior vaccination with Varivax is not an obstacle to Zostavax receipt. Although guidance is vague, the use of valtex should stop about a week before Zostavax and can recommence 3 weeks later. regards DR Moyle



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