The Importance of Vaccination Against Herpes Zoster

Research paper by Edmund Tsui, Elisabeth J. Cohen

Indexed on: 01 Aug '18Published on: 31 Jul '18Published in: Current Ophthalmology Reports


In this review, we will discuss herpes zoster, a common, serious, and potentially vision and life-threatening preventable disease. We will also review the two available zoster vaccines and discuss the current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals and Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations regarding herpes zoster vaccination.The incidence of herpes zoster is increasing, the age of onset is decreasing, and more complications are being reported. The zoster vaccine live (ZVL), which contains a live attenuated virus, has been CDC recommended for immunocompetent adults age 60 years and older since 2008, and FDA approved for immunocompetent adults age 50 years and older since 2011. Under-usage of this vaccine remains a problem. The recombinant zoster vaccine (RZV), which contains a viral antigen in a novel adjuvant, was approved by the FDA in October 2017 for adults age 50 years and older. In January 2018, the CDC recommended this vaccine as preferred for immunocompetent adults age 50 years and older, including those who have received the zoster vaccine live in the past.Now that there are two approved and recommended vaccines against zoster, including a new one requiring a two-shot series that appears more effective, it should be a high priority for physicians, including primary care doctors, ophthalmologists, and dermatologists, as well as other health care professionals, to increase vaccination rates of adults age 50 years and older against zoster and prevent this painful and potentially devastating disease.