CDC recommends herpes zoster vaccine for adults over age 60

June 16, 2008

CDC updates vaccine recommendation for herpes zoster.

A single dose of zoster vaccine live (Zostavax, Merck) is now recommended for adults 60 and older even if they've had a prior episode of shingles. Researchers have found that the vaccine reduces the occurrence of shingles by about 50% and, for adults ages 60-69, it reduced occurrence of the illness by 64%. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 95% of adults are at risk of developing shingles due to prior infection with chicken pox and the risk of complications from the virus rises after age 60. The new full recommendation replaces a provisional recommendation the CDC made in 2006.