Shingles is a viral infection that can cause blisters and severe nerve pain brought on by the varicella-zoster virus. Anyone who's had chickenpox may develop shingles. It isn't known what reactivates the virus. It causes a painful rash that may appear as a stripe of blisters on the trunk of the body. Pain can persist even after the rash is gone.
A new vaccine, Shingrix appeared to be very effective. In two clinical trials show it’s efficacy was determined to be 97 percent for people ages 50 to 59 and 60 to 69 and over Ninety percent effective for people 70 years and older. Its efficacy remained at 85 percent for people age 70 and older four years after vaccination.
The problem is the vaccine is hard to get. “Due to high levels of demand for GSK’s Shingrix vaccine, GSK has implemented order limits, and providers have experienced shipping delays," says Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's a two-dose regime. Patients should get the 2nd dose 2 to 6 months after the first. Pharmacists say they now have waiting lists going back months. Some pharmacists are telling patients that need the first shot that they'll have to wait as those who've gotten the first needs to get the second. She said patients “should make every effort to get the second dose of Shingrix between two and six months” after the first dose. If you have not gotten the second dose within 6 months CDC says get it as soon as you can. It's is not known how waiting longer may impact its efficacy, but you do not need to start over.
The signs and symptoms of shingles usually affect only a small section of one side of your body. These signs and symptoms may include:
- Numbness or tingling
- Sensitivity to touch
- A red rash that begins a few days after the pain
- Fluid-filled blisters that break open and crust over
Some people also experience:
- Sensitivity to light
Most commonly, the shingles rash develops as a stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or right side of your torso. Sometimes the shingles rash occurs around one eye or on one side of the neck or face.