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Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2013 Oct;13(10):1467-77. doi: 10.1517/14712598.2013.830101. Epub 2013 Aug 29.

Zostavax : a subcutaneous vaccine for the prevention of herpes zoster.

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  • 1The University of Texas Medical Branch, School of Medicine , 301 University Blvd, Galveston, TX 77555 , USA



Herpes zoster (HZ) occurs as a reactivation of dormant varicella zoster virus (VZV), and occurs more frequently in the aging population or the immunocompromised due to waning cell-mediated immunity. Up to 1 million cases of HZ are reported annually in the USA with an estimated 10 - 30% of the population being affected by shingles in their lifetime. HZ is a debilitating illness, and while mortality is low, morbidity remains a significant cause for concern with prevention efforts aimed at reducing VZV reactivation and its complications. The HZ vaccine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for individuals aged 50-years or older. However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices recommends the vaccine in individuals aged 60-years or older.


Recent literature investigating the efficacy and indications of live attenuated zoster vaccine.


Live attenuated zoster vaccine is safe and efficacious in preventing HZ and decreasing the morbidity associated with postherpetic neuralgia. The vaccine is FDA approved in individuals aged 50-years or older but further studies are warranted to investigate the vaccine's efficacy in immunosuppressed and immunocompromised patients.

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