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Rising shingles vaccination rates

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A fast-growing number of adults over 60 are getting vaccinated against shingles, and Missourians are among those with the highest vaccination rates in the U.S., according to the most recent National Health Interview Survey.

For the country as a whole, shingles vaccination rates rose from 6.7% in 2008 to 34.5% in 2018, the survey showed. In the West North Central region – which includes Missouri – the rate is an even higher 42.8%.

Women and men were equally as likely to have received the vaccine over the 10-year period, and vaccine coverage was highest for those with more than a high school education. White adults were about twice as likely as those of other races to have ever received a shingles vaccine.

Shingles is a painful and often debilitating rash caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. The risk of complications, most notably an extremely painful condition called postherpetic neuralgia, increases with age. 

Zostavax, the first vaccine developed to prevent shingles, has been largely replaced with a newer vaccine, Shingrix, which is shown to be more than 90% effective as well as long-lasting. Beginning in 2017, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that all adults age 50 and over be vaccinated against shingles. 

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