Efficacy of the herpes zoster vaccine

January 01, 0001

Efficacy of the herpes zoster vaccine

Herpes zoster is a common condition seen by primary care physicians. These US researchers examined whether the vaccine works in general practice settings via a retrospective cohort of immunocompetent community- dwelling adults aged 60 years or older. The vaccinated cohort (n=75 761) were age matched (1:3) to unvaccinated participants (n=227 283).

The researchers found: "Herpes zoster vaccine recipients were more likely to be white, women, with more outpatient visits, and fewer chronic diseases. The number of herpes zoster cases among vaccinated individuals was 828 in 130 415 person-years (6.4 per 1000 person-years), and for unvaccinated individuals it was 4606 in 355,659 person-years (13.0 per 1000 person-years). In adjusted analysis, vaccination was associated with a reduced risk of herpes zoster (hazard ratio [HR

The researchers concluded: "Among immunocompetent community- dwelling adults aged 60 years or older, receipt of the herpes zoster vaccine was associated with a lower incidence of herpes zoster. The risk was reduced among all age strata and among individuals with chronic diseases."

This study finds broad efficacy for the herpes zoster vaccine, although it does not provide complete protection

For the full abstract, click here.

JAMA 305(2):160-166, 12 January 2011
© 2011 American Medical Association
Herpes Zoster Vaccine in Older Adults and the Risk of Subsequent Herpes Zoster Disease. Hung Fu Tseng, Ning Smith, Rafael Harpaz, Stephanie R. Bialek, Lina S. Sy, Steven J. Jacobsen.

Category: B. Blood/Immune Mechanisms, S. Skin. Keywords: herpes zoster, vaccine, varicella, shingles, incidence, retrospective cohort, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 25 January 2011

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.