Who does the CDC recommend receive varicella-zoster virus (VZV) vaccine (Varivax) for prevention of herpes zoster (shingles)?

Updated: Feb 11, 2021
  • Author: Camila K Janniger, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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In 2006, on the basis of the findings from the Shingles Prevention Study, [122] the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Zostavax for prevention of herpes zoster in people aged 60 years and older. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the vaccine enrolled more than 38,000 adults older than 60 years. The vaccine reduced the incidence by 61.1% and the incidence of PHN by 66.5%.

Shortly thereafter, the CDC recommended that the zoster vaccine be given to all nonimmunocompromised, nonpregnant people aged 60 years of age and older, including those who have had a previous episode of zoster. [122]

In 2011, the FDA lowered the approved age for use of Zostavax to 50-59 years. Approval was based on a multicenter study, the Zostavax Efficacy and Safety Trial (ZEST), which was conducted in the United States and 4 other countries and included 22,439 subjects aged 50-59 years. [130] Participants were divided into 2 equal groups and randomly assigned to receive either Zostavax or placebo, then monitored for at least 1 year for development of shingles. Zostavax reduced the risk of developing zoster significantly (approximately 70%).

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