Individuals aged 50 and above are advised to contemplate obtaining the shingles vaccination as a safety measure against the viral infection and to mitigate severe symptoms. Emerging research asserts that the vaccine may also aid in decreasing the susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Approximately one in three individuals in the U.S. are predicted to contract shingles, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fortunately, the vaccine has demonstrated up to 90% efficacy in preventing the disease. It has also been noted that if an individual contracts shingles post-vaccination, the vaccine can potentially reduce the severity of symptoms and confer additional health advantages, like diminishing the risks of stroke and dementia.
Medical authorities heavily recommend individuals aged 50 and above to get vaccinated, unless they have had a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine or are currently afflicted with shingles. Those between the ages of 19 and above with a compromised immune system, due to illness or medical treatment, are also urged to consider the vaccine as indicated by the CDC. Pregnant individuals, however, are generally not recommended to receive the vaccine.
Transient tenderness and skin discoloration at the injection site are common side effects of the shingles vaccine. Additionally, recipients might experience fatigue, fever, headache, muscle aches, and nausea, which typically subside within 2 to 3 days.
A noteworthy advantage of the shingles vaccine is its potential ability to reduce dementia risk. Having shingles can heighten the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and various forms of dementia. However, receiving a shingles vaccine could counteract this risk. A study conducted in 2021 furnished evidence that shingles-related inflammation could exacerbate the inflammation involved in the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Furthermore, research in 2022 indicated that the shingles vaccine could contribute protective benefits against dementia and more potently contain vascular dementia than Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also postulated that the vaccine can protect brain health by reducing the chances of a stroke post-shingles infection.
As for other adult vaccinations, research has yielded mixed results in their impact on dementia risk. A 2022 review suggested that the standard adult vaccination schedule could curb overall dementia risk by nearly 35%. While the shingles and diphtheria vaccines showed potential in reducing dementia risk, the influenza and pneumonia vaccines seemed to amplify the possibility. Nevertheless, there is currently no definitive link established between flu or pneumonia vaccination and the development of dementia.
The CDC specifies that there’s a single FDA-approved shingles vaccine accessible in the United States which is typically administered in two doses, spanning a 2 to 6 months period. It’s routinely recommended even for those who have experienced shingles, post the resolution of symptoms.
If you had received a formerly FDA-approved shingles vaccine, considering the present version is recommended as it’s believed to provide enhanced protection. Consultation with your healthcare professional is deemed prudent for any queries regarding the vaccine, scheduling, or potential side effects.