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Live Shingles Vaccine Safe for Sjogrens?

Question:

I am not sure what most Sjogren patients are doing re: the Shingles vaccination
(since it is a live virus); and to date most of my resources state 'not to get a
live virus' vaccination but dead virus vaccinations are ok.  Is it considered
better to get the vaccination or not.  ALSO, is there a 'dead virus' vaccination
for shingles?  I would appreciate your thoughts on this so I can make an
informed decision.
Answer:
The Shingles (Herpes Zoster/chicken pox) Vaccine that is widely available is Zostavax (R) and is a LIVE vaccine. You are correct, live vaccines are NOT recommended and more strongly are Contraindicated in patients with compromised immune systems. Therefore, I have advised against the vaccine in Sjs patients when asked. Several patients with Sjs did share with me that they had received the vaccine (prior to brining it up with me), and we have not observed an active HZ in those cases. A killed, inactivated, or subunit vaccine is not as effective in creating protective immunity and to my knowledge has not been studied enough/or easily available to comment. My brief research did not yield such a vaccine that could be purchased in the US, but I would need to investigate further to be sure. The attached reference addresses the issue at hand http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2679676/

 

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