Shingles vaccination: I had a phone call from my GP to... - NRAS

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Shingles vaccination

Cien profile image
Cien

I had a phone call from my GP to have a Shingles vaccine next week. I didn't manage to ask whether it will be a live or non-live vaccine. Last year I heard an acquaintance of mine with RA said she had been refused by her GP for the shingle vaccine because of RA. Anyone has the shingle vaccination done?

56 Replies

I thought the shingles vaccine was a live one.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to Exhiker

I believe Zostavax is a live attenuated vaccine whereas the Singrix is a non live vaccine.

Neonkittie17 profile image
Neonkittie17 in reply to Exhiker

It is a live strain but it’s attenuated/weakened, I understand. I believe you have to leave two weeks from having your Covid vaccine though.

I don't know but had Shingles and it was awful so if you can grab the jab. I was too young to get the jab but ill for ages and the pain is beyond description.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to medway-lady

I am very sorry to hear your suffering. I will have the vaccine but like to know whether anyone has it done and their experience.

AgedCrone profile image
AgedCrone in reply to Cien

Please ask your rheumy team before taking the live vaccine.

I had shingles in late 2019 just after my Rtx infusion. Not sure if it had anything to do with it or not. Never had shingles before. Did have chicken pox as an 8 year old. Mine was a mild case of shingles and that was troublesome enough. I lost feeling in 5x5 inch inch area on my side/hip/upper buttock where the blisters were, but after taking Acyclovir it returned to normal. I wasn’t advised to have the vaccine and told too young also. It was only in that one place but I did feel really off colour too. Thankfully all was back to normal after 4 weeks, but I recall how awful you described yours as before. 😢 x

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to Neonkittie17

I am really sorry to hear your past suffering. Did you have the vaccine?

Neonkittie17 profile image
Neonkittie17 in reply to Cien

Thank you. I was told it probably wouldn’t reoccur but if it did to get in touch with the GP. I’m 60 and was told it’s 70 plus who should get the vaccine and they don’t tend to vaccine are younger than 70 but I’d have thought if your med/immunity or lack of it compromises you enough to get shingles easily especially if you’ve had chicken pox as a child then the docs would vaccinate even if under 70? I wasn’t anywhere head as bad as some people on here have described and as a kid I recall our neighbour in her 70s being in agony with blisters in her scalp and trunk, and in bed for weeks fatigued, so I got off quite lightly. Have you suffered from it in the recent past?

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to Neonkittie17

No. I have not had Shingles but am asked to have a vaccine by my GP. I am going to have it but gathering information first before deciding which type of vaccine is best for me.

All the best to you NeonKittie17

Neonkittie17 profile image
Neonkittie17 in reply to Cien

Thank you, and the same to you.

I still take Aciclovar every day and get neuralgic pain in my leg. Funnily enough I've it now.

Sorry to hear you have long term pain from it. Will you have to keep taking the Acyclovir?

I had shingles a couple of weeks ago and my Doc was brilliant: if you take Aciclovir within 72 hours you’ll probably get no side effects. It worked, but better still has an effect on the vax side effects I was experiencing: headache face ache scalp pain earache.

Same for me to young for the jab. So if you can get it and protect yourself please do

They only use Shingrix now. It is NOT a live vaccine. You do have to space it two weeks from the COVID vaccine.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to DRunnerchick

Thank you very much. This is very useful to know

Yes that’s what I read .. same as if you have the flu or pneumonia shots.

When I visited my UK rheumy about a month ago, she told me that the shingles vaccine in Britain and Europe is live. However, in North America patients have the option of receiving a non-live vaccine. It's my understanding that people with RA can't have live vaccines.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to MoniqueB

Thanks I am waiting for my GP’s email reply to know exactly what will I have.

I looked into this recently as was considering paying privately for the non live jab (Shingrix) before starting Biologics as I am well below the NHS age of 70 when they offer it. My mum had shingles about 10 years ago and found it excruciating so figured it would be worth it but I never got around to asking my rheumatologist if I should consider it.

The NHS currently gives Zostavax which is a live attenuated vaccine and is not normally recommended in immunocompromised patients but it depends on your medication how much you are considered to be immunocompromised.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to Karen12

I feel this may be the case as I can see a lot of private clinics are advertising the non live Shingles vaccine.

I think this answers your question ..but always speak to your Rheumy nurse before having any vaccination....GPS they do not “get” people on RA drugs should generally not have the Live shingles vaccination.

“Is the new non-live shingles vaccine available on the NHS? No, currently the old live shingles vaccine is offered on the NHS for people 70-79 year of age only.....16 Mar 2021”

Private Shingles Vaccination With New Non-Live Shingles ...is available at a price.

Google NHS shingles vaccination you will find lots of information....but rheumy nurse will know the answer.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to AgedCrone

Thank you very much. This is an excellent suggestion and also what I intend to do after reading all the replies which seems to me none has said who had the live vaccine. I will email my Rheumy nurse to discuss the issue. I suspect I am offered the vaccine because I am in remission and taking MTX 10mg weekly. Anyhow I am hoping to get the new non live vaccine.

AgedCrone profile image
AgedCrone in reply to Cien

I’m afraid the new nine live non live vaccine is not available on the NHS..read all the info ....it explains everything.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to AgedCrone

Thanks. Will decide to have it done on NHS or private after I have discussed the issue with Rheumy nurse first.

AgedCrone profile image
AgedCrone in reply to Cien

You misunderstood...Shingrix..the Non Live Shingles vaccines is not available on the NHS.A very ong trial using Zostervax has just finished...& it has been decided that people over 80 will no longer be offered a Shingles vaccine as it has proved not to be effective after 80.

That is why GPS have been chasing people in their 70’s ...who can take a live vaccine to have it before they reach 80.

But not everybody has Shingles badly...I had it on my head, forehead & over one eye. It wasn’t pleasant..but as I got the anti virals on the first day it appeared...I really only had it for about three weeks,

From the NHS WEBSITE “Shingrix is not currently available on the NHS. We currently have a limited supply of Shingrix vaccines in stock at 7 Jan 2021”

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to AgedCrone

I will discuss this with my Rheumy nurse. Thanks

Yes I’ve had the Shingles vaccination Had no problems

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to SylviaMA

Thank you SylviaMA. This is the exact answer to my question. The rest of the clinical issues I could get it confirmed from my Rheumy nurse or GP. Thank you everyone for your answers.

In the U.K., it is a live vaccine. You won’t be able to have it if you are on Biologics or high dose Methotrexate. (I’m not so sure about the doses of the other DMARDS).

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to MrsSBJ

Thanks. Good to know

I had shingles vaccination about 3 weeks ago. Checked with RA clinic first. Am on 20mg methotrexate. No problems

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to Jsartbtb

Thank you very much. This is really reassuring

SylviaMA profile image
SylviaMA in reply to Cien

Yep on the advise of my Rheumy I have the Flu shot yearly. I had the Shingles Vacc and phneumonia vaccination. Just recently have had the 1st Astrazenica shot for COVID. No problems with any. I take 200 mg Plaquenil daily and 20mg MTX weekly Hope that helps. Always ask your Rheumy 🙂

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to SylviaMA

Thanks SylviaMA. Useful information

From NRAS: Guidance issued by the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR), based on the Department of Health ‘Green Book’ on immunisation suggests that until further evidence of safety is established for the Zostavax shingles vaccination, it would not be recommended to anyone taking a biologic drug for rheumatoid arthritis. Patients on some of the non-biologic DMARDs (such as methotrexate) may be able to have the vaccine, but if you are invited to have this vaccination, please check with your rheumatologist first. If your rheumatologist is considering treating you with a biologic drug, you should ask your rheumatologist whether you should have the Zostavax shingles vaccine before starting this type of treatment. Further details about this guidance can be found here (link on NRAS website).

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to oldtimer

Many thanks

Shingles is a live vaccine. I couldn't have it when it was offered to me by the GP because I was taking Methotrexate (and still am) and I think this applies to biologics too.

Other live vaccines include Yellow Fever and Malaria - so difficult to visit tropical countries which require these.

bienassis xx

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to bienassis

Wow more information about having the Shingle vaccine. I am still waiting for the reply from my Rheumy nurse.

Hi Cien.I was told I cant have it, and that was by my doctor, it is a live vaccine.

Take care.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to cropredy

Thanks.

I had both shingrix shots with no problem. I had both Pfizer shots with no after effects also. Each person is so different. No one knows before they get any shot. How they will feel!

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to Empress30

Thanks. Did you have the Shingrix privately?

Empress30 profile image
Empress30 in reply to Cien

I live in the US. It is no problem to get. I understand you have different rules to follow. I have private Insurance. I wish you all the best. As long as a shot is not live I get it. 🙂

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to Empress30

Thanks. Reply from my Rheumy saying ‘No live vaccines as this is contraindicated with Methotrexate’.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to Cien

Further reply from my Rheumy nurse saying:

I have just received a further reply from my colleague that says if you are only taking the Methotrexate then it is ok to have the shingles vaccine.

I am sorry for the mis information in the previous email.

I would definitely talk to your rheumatologist before getting the shingles shot. Please don’t delay getting it. I had shingles when I was 30 years old and all I could get were pain meds. It went all the way up one side of my neck into my hair and was extremely painful! The nerve pain lasted for a couple of months!

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to liveinwoods

Thanks. Sorry to hear what you have been through. I will definitely have it after the reply from my Rheumy

I asked my rheumatologist about this just a couple of weeks ago. My only RA drug is MTX and she said the guidance is that if you take less than 0.4 mg per kg of bodyweight per week, then it's fine to have the shingles vaccine. 0.4 mg per kg of my weight would be 25mg. I actually only take 10 mg per week, so it sounds fine to me.

Shingrix is a new and better (i.e. more effective) vaccine. It's not available (yet) from the NHS as supplies are very low. However, some private clinics get small stocks and will vaccinate you for £500 - £525. That's for two doses.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to Bacharia

Thank you very much for your detailed information. It is very useful

Not had the vaccine but I don’t think it’s live anymore. Be sure to ask first.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to BonnieG123

Thanks In the Uk NHS it is still using the live vaccine but not in the US.

BonnieG123 profile image
BonnieG123 in reply to Cien

I didn’t realize that. As having had shingles badly giving me peripheral neuropathy, I would not ever get the live vaccine.

Late to say... but I was told no way could I have the shingles vacc by my rheumy. Do ask your rheumy ... as great as our gp’s can be they do not have full understanding of our meds. When I was told no to the shingles I was on MXT and Sulfasalazine.

Cien profile image
Cien in reply to bubblyalex

Thanks. Yes there are few different answers given by the rheumatologists on the live vaccine which depends on the medications one is taking. It is less complicated for the non live vaccine but unfortunately it is not available under NHS.

Thank you everyone for all the information provided. Most appropriated.

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