Vaccine Info

Zostavax Shingles Vaccine

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Fact checked by
Robert Carlson, MD

Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Description

Merck's Zostavax is a live, attenuated varicella-zoster virus (weakened chickenpox virus) vaccine.

Zoster vaccine, a live virus vaccine, can be administered concurrently with all other live and inactivated vaccines, including those routinely recommended for people 60 years of age or older, such as influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, says the U.S. CDC.

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration expanded the age indication for Zostavax to include people 50 through 59 years old for preventing herpes zoster. This decision was based on a large study showing that the vaccine reduced the risk of zoster by approximately 70%.

On May 22, 2020, Merck issued a letter informing healthcare providers that it will no longer sell ZOSTAVAX in the USA, effective July 1, 2020. This decision is not related to any product safety or manufacturing issues, and only affects vaccine customers in the USA.

Merck is the producer of Zostavax.

Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Indication

Healthcare providers considering the herpes zoster vaccine for certain persons in age ranges should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their patients. Zostavax is indicated for adults 50 years of age or older that helps to boost the immune system against herpes zoster virus, Shingles, says the US CDC.

When administering zoster vaccine to people 60 years of age or older, there is no need to ask for a history of varicella or to conduct laboratory testing for serologic evidence of prior varicella-zoster virus infection. Almost all people 60 years of age or older who were born in the United States have had a previous infection with varicella-zoster virus.

Persons who report that they have not had varicella can still receive the zoster vaccine. Laboratory testing to determine if there is evidence of past infection with the varicella-zoster virus is not necessary.

Zoster vaccine should not be administered to a person who has ever had a life-threatening or severe allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of the shingles vaccine, or a person who has a weakened immune system says the CDC.

Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Dosage

Zostavax is given as a single dose by injection under the skin. Zostavax cannot be used to treat Shingles or the nerve pain that may follow Shingles, once you have it.

Zostavax Shingles Vaccine Clinical Trial

Clinical Trial NCT03120364: Immunogenicity and Safety of NBP608 Compared to Zostavax in Healthy Adult Aged 50 and Over

  • This is a phase 3 multi-center, randomized, double-blinded, parallel-group study to assess the Immunogenicity and safety of NBP608 compared to Zostavax which are indicated for the prevention of herpes zoster.
  • A total of 824 healthy subjects aged 50 and over, each subject is administered with a single dose of vaccine which is randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio. Stratified randomization for the age group is used to achieve the balance of treatment assignment within age strata.
  • Total of five visits scheduled including two visits via telephone contact. Blood sampling is conducted for immunogenicity assessment before and 6 weeks after vaccination at Visit 2 and Visit 4 respectively. Safety is monitored 1 week, 6 weeks, and 26 weeks after vaccination through Visit 3, Visit 4 and Visit 5.

Clinical Trials

No clinical trials found