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New Shingles Vaccine Offers Lifetime Protection

By Taylor Smith

Shingles is a viral infection that lays dormant in those who have had the chicken pox and is most common in those ages 50 and older, both men and women. Shingles can occur anywhere on the body, but is most common as a single stripe of extremely painful blisters around the torso, lower waist, chest and/or face. While it isn’t a life-threatening condition, the virus can be very painful, causing many people to suffer for anywhere from three to six months with severe discomfort.

The number one risk factor for shingles is having had chickenpox. The likelihood of contracting shingles increases as you get older and, again, is most common is those ages 50 and older. However, younger people with impaired immune systems can get shingles. For example, those having certain diseases like HIV/AIDS or those undergoing cancer treatment are susceptible. Also, certain drugs designed to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs can increase the risk of shingles.

SHINGRIX is the first shingles vaccine in 10 years to be FDA-approved with limited to no side effects. As Dr. John Sensakovic, an infectious disease specialist at JFK Medical Center in Edison, says, “SHINGRIX is the only shingles vaccine proven to be up to 90 percent effective in clinical trials.” Unlike the old shingles vaccine, there is no chance of a patient contracting a mild case of shingles after receiving SHINGRIX.

“The new shingles vaccine is preventative medicine at its best,” states Dr. Sensakovic. “The vaccine is given as a two-dose series, with the second shot administered anywhere from two to six months after the first shot. To ensure that you get full protection from the shingles, it’s important to get both shots.” Whereas the old vaccine was effective for only four to five years after the inoculation date, SHINGRIX is effective for a lifetime.

“It’s important to note that the vaccine is not used to prevent chickenpox,” says Dr. Sensakovic. SHINGRIX can be administered at your doctor’s office or at some pharmacies.

JFK Medical Center in Edison is an affiliate of Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s most comprehensive and fully integrated health care network. JFK Health in Edison is a leading hospital system that is nationally recognized for its pediatric and adult neuroscience and rehabilitation institutes. With more than 160 patient care locations, Hackensack Meridian Health is the largest health network in the state.

For more about SHINGRIX, visit

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