In the Shingles Prevention Study, half of the participants were assigned a single injection of the zoster vaccine and the other half a placebo vaccine. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew who received vaccine and who received placebo until after the study was over. During an average of more than three years of follow-up, the vaccine reduced the incidence of shingles by 51 percent: 642 cases of shingles occurred among those in the placebo group compared with only 315 in the vaccinated group. Among all vaccine recipients, the total burden of pain and discomfort due to shingles was 61 percent lower than in placebo recipients.
Zoster vaccine reduced the incidence of shingles by 63.9% in subjects aged 60 - 69 years of age and 37.9% in people aged 70 years or older.
Refer the service member to a health care provider for evaluation for special consideration of the chickenpox vaccine (not shingles vaccine).
Remember Shingles cannot be passed from one person to another. However, the virus that causes shingles (VZV) can be spread from a person with active shingles to a person who has never had chickenpox through direct contact with the rash. The person exposed would develop chickenpox, not shingles. The virus is not spread through sneezing, coughing or casual contact. A person with shingles can spread the disease when the rash is in the blister-phase. Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious. A person is not infectious before blisters appear or with PHN (pain after the rash is gone).
The Immunization Action Coalition http://www.vaccineinformation.org
Immunization Healthcare Branch http://www.vaccines.mil