To begin with, the current shingles vaccine contains a live,attenuated (weakened)

virus which is only about 51 % effective in preventing shingles. Therefore,since it

contains a live virus,it should not be used in immunosuppressed individuals,ie,

people with cancer who are undergoing treatment with chemo or radiation therapy or

those with some other defect in their body's ability to fight infection.

            A newer vaccine under development,but not yet available,has about a 97.2 %

efficacy in preventing shingles and does not contain a live virus,and,ie,may be

appropriate even in immunosuppressed individuals.

            And, recent studies indicate shingles in immunocompetent people is

unlikely to recur and even if it does will probably be milder with less risk of

the very painful and often prolonged  post shingles pain known as post

herpetic neuralgia (if they are less than 80 years old).

           In addition,even though the risk of shingles in general is low in

otherwise healthy,elderly adults,physicians should remind patients who have

never had shingles to get vaccinated.

           However,the question now in my mind is should they risk shingles by

waiting for the new vaccine or get the older less effective vaccine now?-

again since it contains a live virus it is not for immunosuppressed individuals.

           And,if they elect  to get the older vaccine,will future studies

show increased shingles immunity and no untoward effects being revaccinated

with the newer more effective shingles vaccine when it becomes available ?

Coming soon.