New shingles vaccine can cut risk in half - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

New shingles vaccine can cut risk in half

(NBC) - A new study from Southern California Kaiser Permanente is showing that a shingles vaccine can cut the risk of the disease by more than half.

A vaccine to prevent shingles has been around since 2006, yet a majority of adults haven't gotten it. The disease is extremely painful and in severe cases can lead to lasting nerve damage.

"We're confident that we will be able to cut down on the long-term nerve damage that a patient may have, and that's very exciting," said Dr. Juanita Watts, a physician with Kaiser Permanente.

She said only about 11 percent of adults have gotten the vaccine, even though it's recommended for all healthy people over age 60.

Watts said the new study shows the vaccine could be safely made available to a broader pool of patients.

"Even patients that may have a chronic disease or some type of co-morbidity would also benefit from having the vaccination," Watts said.

"Why would you put yourself at risk for getting something that you could prevent?" asked Jane Adrian, who received the vaccine.

About 1 million people in the United States develop shingles each year. The vaccine hasn't been on the market long enough to determine how long it's effective.

Copyright 2011 NBC. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly