Shingles: HAS recommends vaccinating seniors and immunocompromised adults

Shingles: HAS recommends vaccinating seniors and immunocompromised adults

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The High Health Authority (HAS) recommends vaccinating adults immunocompromised and those over 65 against shinglesa viral condition of the skin and mucous membranes, preferably with a new vaccine which appears more effective, she said Thursday.

Shingles is due, in people who have had chickenpox, to a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which sometimes occurs when the immune system is weakened by an illness, treatment (such as chemotherapy) or age, for example. Its frequency and severity increase with age, and its main complications are persistent neuropathic pain.

Until now, the recommendation in France – which dates from 2013 – was to vaccinate adults aged 65 to 74 with Zostavax (from the MSD laboratory). Requested by the Ministry of Health for an update, notably due to a new vaccine, the HAS “recommends vaccination against shingles with the Shingrix vaccine for people aged 18 and over whose immune system is failing, as well as than all people aged 65 and over, preferentially to the Zostavax vaccine,” according to a press release.

“A priority public health objective”

According to the HAS, the Shringrix vaccine (from the GSK laboratory) is “just as safe but more effective” than Zostavax in preventing the appearance of shingles (79.3% of people vaccinated with Shringrix compared to 45.9% with Zostavax) and to reduce post-shingles pain (87% versus 66%). This new serum has also proven effective for immunocompromised people, unlike the previous one, she notes.

By proposing the vaccination of those aged 65 and over against shingles, the HAS defends a “simple and readable vaccination schedule, a necessary condition for improving vaccination coverage” of seniors. Other vaccinations are in fact recommended in this age group: booster against diphtheria, tetanus and poliomyelitis at age 65 (every 10 years thereafter), vaccination against influenza and against Covid-19 for those aged 65 and more.

The Shringrix shingles vaccine can be administered at the same time as these other vaccines, said the HAS. The Academy of Medicine expressed concern in mid-January about low vaccination coverage for those over 65 against four infectious diseases “among the most severe for this age group”, including shingles, and judged that vaccination of seniors should become “a priority public health objective”.

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