Should I Get the Herpes Zoster Vaccine?
The Herpes Zoster Vaccine as a "Herpes Zoster Cure"In May 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new vaccine to prevent herpes zoster. The vaccine, called Zostavax, is approved for people 50 years of age and older who have had chickenpox but who have not had herpes zoster. Research scientists estimate the vaccine could prevent 250,000 cases of herpes zoster that occur in the United States each year and significantly reduce the severity of the disease in another 250,000 cases annually.
In clinical trials, the vaccine prevented herpes zoster in about half of the people over the age of 60. It was more effective in people between the ages of 60 and 69 than in older groups. For example, in people ages 60 to 69, about 70 percent did not develop herpes zoster. About 40 percent of people ages 70 to 79 did not develop herpes zoster. The effects of the vaccine were studied up to four years. Therefore, its ability to prevent herpes zoster beyond four years is not known.