The shingles vaccine is “generally safe and well tolerated,” according to a study of nearly 200,000 patients.
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by reactivation of chickenpox virus that has remained dormant in the body. Up to 1 million Americans, more than half of whom are 60 or older, are diagnosed with shingles every year, the researchers write.
Researchers analyzed data of 193,083 vaccinated patients aged 50 or older for certain side effects that could be related to the shingles vaccine.
The researchers found no increased risk in the first six weeks after vaccination for stroke, heart disease, infections of the brain or spinal cord or other brain diseases, Bell's palsy, or Ramsay-Hunt syndrome, which can occur when the virus that causes shingles affects the facial nerve near an ear.
An increased risk of allergic reaction was found in the first week after receiving the shingles vaccine.
A majority of these reactions involved an inflammatory response at the injection site, involving symptoms such as redness, swelling, and mild pain.