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Shingles Vaccination

According to posters in my GPs' waiting room, I am now eligible for the shingles jab. However, I seem to remember advice on this forum saying that it's not advisable for patients receiving prednisolone. I have been looking at the Government's guidance for practitioners and unearthed the following:

"people receiving 40mg Prednisolone per day for more than one week should not

receive the vaccine until at least 3 months after cessation of therapy. A longer delay, up

to 6 months, may be appropriate for the age cohorts included in the national

vaccination programme."


I am now on 5mg of pred and asked the GP I saw today (my usual GP wasn't available) and he didn't seem to know whether I should ore should not have the vaccine.

Is there anything else I shold know?


4 Replies

Other than it only works for about half of people to prevent shingles and about 2/3 to reduce post herpetic neuralgia probably not.

"In a large clinical trial involving more than 38,000 people 60 years of age or older, zoster vaccine reduced the overall incidence of zoster by 51% and the incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia by 67%. The efficacy of the vaccine in preventing zoster was higher in people 60 through 69 years of age than in people older than 70 years (64% versus 38%). Zoster vaccine efficacy wanes within the first 5 years after vaccination, and protection beyond 5 years is uncertain.

Studies are ongoing to assess the duration of protection from one dose of zoster vaccine and the need, if any, for booster doses.

There are no comprehensive data on the effectiveness of zoster vaccine in treating shingles once it occurs, and the vaccine is not licensed for this use."

Especially in conjunction with this statement under contraindications:

"A person who has a weakened immune system because of:

- HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system,

- treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids,

- cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy, or

- cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma."

On those figures, if I were over 70 and on pred for PMR, an autoimmune disorder, I don't think I'd bother to be honest. And I do have to wonder why the UK decided to start with that age group as they get the least protection!

But I suppose it is a personal decision and post herpetic neuralgia can be awful.


Thanks for a very comprehensive response. I needed that extra bit of information and will not take the opportunity this time as a couple of criteria apply to me - I'm well over 70 and still on pred. But my flu jab this Saturday is a must!


I was also warned that I could be at risk of shingles due to a lack of immune system and taking pred. When I asked at the GP's I was told that as it is a live vaccine I could not have it as it would be likely to cause shingles. This was three years ago, there may be more up to date vaccines now?


I have never had it, neither my Rheumy or GP would even contemplate it.

Yes, I did get shingles, but knew what it was, called GP, was given the 24 hour stuff and it was stopped in its tracks.


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