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Am J Epidemiol. 2018 Jan 1;187(1):161-169. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwx245.

Long-Term Effectiveness of the Live Zoster Vaccine in Preventing Shingles: A Cohort Study.

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Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, Oakland, California.
Pharmacoepidemiology Department, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, New Jersey.


A live attenuated zoster vaccine was licensed in the United States in 2006 for prevention of shingles in persons aged 60 years or older; the indication was extended in 2011 to cover those aged 50-59 years. We assessed vaccine effectiveness (VE) against shingles for 8 years after immunization at Kaiser Permanente Northern California. VE was estimated by Cox regression with a calendar timeline that was stratified by birth year. We adjusted for demographics and time-varying covariates, including comorbidities and immune compromise. From 2007 to 2014, 1.4 million people entered the study when they became age eligible for vaccination; 392,677 (29%) received the zoster vaccine. During 5.8 million person-years of follow-up, 48,889 cases of shingles were observed, including 5,766 among vaccinees. VE was 49.1% (95% confidence interval (CI): 47.5, 50.6) across all follow-up. VE was 67.5% (95% CI: 65.4, 69.5) during the first year after vaccination, waned to 47.2% (95% CI: 44.1, 50.1) during the second year after vaccination, and then waned more gradually through year 8, when VE was 31.8% (95% CI: 15.1, 45.2). Unexpectedly, VE in persons vaccinated when they were aged 80 years or older was similar to VE in younger vaccinees, and VE in persons vaccinated when immune compromised was similar to VE in persons vaccinated when immune competent.



herpes zoster; herpes zoster vaccine; vaccine effectiveness

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