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    Infectious Diseases A-Z: Over age 50? Get your shingles vaccine

a closeup of red bumps and shingles blistersAll adults over 50 are encouraged to get the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Shingrix for the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) and related complications. "When people get shingles, it’s a very painful ordeal," says Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic.

Watch: Dr. Pritish discusses the shingles vaccine.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Tosh are in the downloads.

"After the shingles itself goes away, a certain percentage of those people are going to get pain lingering for years, says Dr. Tosh."It can be debilitating. We call that postherpetic neuralgia. The vaccine is not only preventing people from getting shingles, but, probably more importantly, preventing them from getting the postherpetic neuralgia that’s associated with it."

Shingrix requires two doses and offers long-lasting protection. Dr. Tosh says the efficacy rate is in the 90 percent range.

"It is recommended that everybody over age 50 get vaccinated with Shingrix, and they should see their regular primary care provider to get this started," emphasizes Dr. Tosh.
illustration of man with Shingles along his back