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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont

    Shingrix vaccine

    As we age, your doc is well apt to recommend getting the relatively new Shingrix vaccine once you hit 50. It's a two shot regimen, and thought I'd point out for those who plan on getting it that the mentioned side effects can indeed be real.
    My wife was in bed for a full day after her first shot (101 fever, chills, aches, nausea) though I had no reaction.

    Yesterday I went and got my second shot at Costco, the pharmacist told me I was unlikely to have a reaction since I didn't react to the first shot. However...twelve hours later I was moaning in bed with a 101 fever, aches, flu like symptoms without the flu. Quite an unpleasant day.

    The point is that if you're getting these shots (which is a very good idea) you might want get them on a day when you don't have something big coming up the next day or two, like a major work assignment, or leaving on vacation, etc.
    (One study showed that 28% of patients ran a fever).

    And yes, I realize that Shingrix is a dead vaccine, but that doesn't alter the fact that some side effects are fairly common, so be aware, mes amis!

  2. #2
    Had the vaccine. But did not react the same as you. But, after the first shot, my shoulder was really really sore for days. The second shot was better, no soreness. I saw my dad go through shingles, and I did not want that experience.
    ~rthomas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, D.C.

    My reaction

    My wife and I got both sets of shots and had bad reactions. Fever, soreness at the infection site, etc. You definitely need to plan to take the next day or so off.

    Iím still glad we did it.

    I havenít had similar reactions to any other vaccines.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by MChambers View Post
    My wife and I got both sets of shots and had bad reactions. Fever, soreness at the infection site, etc. You definitely need to plan to take the next day or so off.

    Iím still glad we did it.

    I havenít had similar reactions to any other vaccines.
    yes, this was a first for me as well, quite a surprise...far better than the dreaded shingles, however.

  5. #5
    I had shingles in my early 40s.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Washington, D.C.

    So did I

    Quote Originally Posted by YmoBeThere View Post
    I had shingles in my early 40s.
    I did, too. Unfortunately, you can get it more than once, so I opted for Shingrex.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Greenville, SC
    I got the original shingles vaccine several years ago and don't remember any reaction to it.

    This year I got the shingrix series. With the first shingrix injection I had a slight fever for 12 hours or so. Nothing as strong as what you describe.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Had the shingles quite a few ears ago. Felt like I was being stabbed in the side. Get the vaccine!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by camion View Post
    I got the original shingles vaccine several years ago and don't remember any reaction to it.

    This year I got the shingrix series. With the first shingrix injection I had a slight fever for 12 hours or so. Nothing as strong as what you describe.
    The original vaccine was only 50% effective, hence the need for Shangrix, though at this precise moment I can't imagine feeling much worse.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Chesapeake, VA.
    My wife had a horrible reaction to the Shingrix vaccine, much as you are describing, but hers lasted for about 3 days.

    When she went to get the second one, I told her since she had been through that previously, it was highly likely that she would do fine with the second shot. Um, I was wrong. Once again she reacted similarly, with fever, chills, aches/pains, headache and feeling like crap. It didn't last quite as long, though.


    The original shingles vaccine was just the pediatric chickenpox vaccine strain but with more virus in it (this was a live attenuated virus vaccine). The "elderly" people for whom the vaccine was intended didn't mount very good responses to it, and the response tended to wane over the course of 6-10 years. Hence the need for a new vaccine.

    Shingrix is killed, but it has a powerful adjuvant (adjuvants are substances added into vaccines to help force your immune system into making a more powerful response to the vaccine antigens). The adjuvant works really well, which means that we get a much better immune response that we hope will also last a lot longer, too. The cost of that is that powerful immune responses make you feel really sick.

    I haven't had mine yet, but I need to get it soon. In case you don't know, shingles is one of the most common causes of suicide in the elderly. People who get shingles in the distribution of the trigeminal nerve (face and neck) often get what's called "post-herpetic neuralgia." This pain lingers long after the active replication of the virus is over, and it is very difficult to treat with pain medications. It alters the quality of life to such an extent that many people believe that they can no longer live with it, so they take their own lives.

    Given that, even if the Shingrix makes you feel crappy for a day or two (or in my wife's case, even longer), it seems worth it.
    "We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world." --M. Proust

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    ^ yup, gotta have it but I was pretty surprised at my reaction. Fortunately, after about a five hour nap my fever is almost gone and I feel like a human being again...my wife is not looking forward to her second dose, but she needs it.

    One other note: if folks DO feel the shingles coming on at some point, or think you do (not as a result of the vaccine, of course) it's imperative to see a doc ASAP...I was on vacation a few years ago, had some small eruptions on a finger and arm, itched like crazy so I saw a Doc in the Box on Topsail Island, and he sagely diagnosed shingles, got me on the anti viral right away...the next day my arm totally erupted, but in a muted form, and the next day it was almost completely gone.
    Time is of the essence...once shingles gets rolling, it's ugly.

  12. #12
    I had my first Shingrix shot about a month ago. I was prepared for the worst, but only had very mild flu-like symptoms on and off for a couple of days. It wasnít bad at all.

    But boy, did my arm hurt for at least 5 days - Iíve never felt that sore after a shot.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by rsvman View Post
    ... The "elderly" people for whom the vaccine was intended...

    Oooo, I'm telling Mrs rsvman! Those quotes won't save you.

    But thank you for the information. I had no idea about the suicide factor. That's horrible.
    Nothing incites bodily violence quicker than a Duke fan turning in your direction and saying 'scoreboard.'

  14. #14

    Excellent Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by MChambers View Post
    My wife and I got both sets of shots and had bad reactions. Fever, soreness at the infection site, etc. You definitely need to plan to take the next day or so off.

    Iím still glad we did it.

    I havenít had similar reactions to any other vaccines.
    Plan to take the next day off.

    My doc retired so I visited the new one which happened to be on the day before my wedding anniversary. Went over everything and then the doctor noticed I had not had not had either shot and said they had some in stock. My wife gotten the shots, no problem, but friends had reactions. Got the shot in the afternoon.

    Next morning fine, next afternoon felt worse than awful. Dinner plans canceled. The next day felt fine.

    Will carefully schedule the next shot.

    SoCal

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    ^ my wife is setting aside two days for pampering following the upcoming second shot.

  16. #16

    Dealing with Shingrix

    I had the original shingles vaccine several years ago, and (after being on a long waiting list) I finally got the 2-shot Shingrix regimen last summer.

    Day #1 was just a minor soreness, not unlike what I usually expected with something like an annual flu shot. Take a Tylenol and move on.
    But Day #2 was different. I finally gave in and crawled under the covers for most of the afternoon.

    Expecting the same for Round 2, I was pleasantly surprised. Day #1 was comparable, and Day #2 was virtually a non-issue.

    Having had the shingles (I would not wish it on my worst enemy) I figured the minor disruption in my life style to be worth the short-lived discomfort.

    One other item: Shingrix is expensive, and many insurance policies do NOT cover the full cost!

    k

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    ^ yes, my Part D "coverage" is laughable, I think each shot was $174 at Costco...well worth not getting Shingles, though...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Walnut Creek, California
    Quote Originally Posted by rsvman View Post
    ...In case you don't know, shingles is one of the most common causes of suicide in the elderly. People who get shingles in the distribution of the trigeminal nerve (face and neck) often get what's called "post-herpetic neuralgia." This pain lingers long after the active replication of the virus is over, and it is very difficult to treat with pain medications. It alters the quality of life to such an extent that many people believe that they can no longer live with it, so they take their own lives.

    Given that, even if the Shingrix makes you feel crappy for a day or two (or in my wife's case, even longer), it seems worth it.
    I dunno about the suicide part, but the life-altering feature is accurate and very tough. I had been given the first shingles vaccine in 2010 (I think). It was known for being about 50% effective. I was in the wrong 50% and got shingles on Valentines day last year. The shingles was extremely uncomfortable, but bearable. It was, and is, the post-herpetic neuralgia which has been the life-altering factor now consuming my daily life. The shingles attacked my right forearm and ring and little fingers. I am daily gobsmacked by pains covering the gamut from the electrical-style to simply a slow burn. The prescribed medication, gabapentin/neurontin, is helpful, though sometimes only marginally so. When things are really bad, I have to resort to an opioid, Norco. That at least helps me sleep. The docs have said the neuralgia lasts only about a year, but I'm past that now. The pain has changed some. Perhaps not as unbearable, or maybe I've learned what to expect and can steel myself against it.

    Anyway, it affects appetite, energy level, balance, coordination and sleep pattern. And, as mentioned above, shingles can return. The chickenpox virus is one that continues to give; it sits in the nervous system waiting to strike. So my wife, fearful of what happened to me, got the Shingrex vaccine. And I did, too. I have now scared everybody I know into getting it. My wife had no reaction other than a few days of arm pain at the injection site. I only had a few hours. We are both in our seventies. People our age do not weather this off-the-wall type of attack well.

    So my message is, spend the money if you have to, but if you had chickenpox get the two-shot Shingrex. Do it today. I think Medicare covers it and most insurance plans will, too. You don't need a prescription. My HMO covered the full price.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim3k View Post
    I dunno about the suicide part, but the life-altering feature is accurate and very tough. I had been given the first shingles vaccine in 2010 (I think). It was known for being about 50% effective. I was in the wrong 50% and got shingles on Valentines day last year. The shingles was extremely uncomfortable, but bearable. It was, and is, the post-herpetic neuralgia which has been the life-altering factor now consuming my daily life. The shingles attacked my right forearm and ring and little fingers. I am daily gobsmacked by pains covering the gamut from the electrical-style to simply a slow burn. The prescribed medication, gabapentin/neurontin, is helpful, though sometimes only marginally so. When things are really bad, I have to resort to an opioid, Norco. That at least helps me sleep. The docs have said the neuralgia lasts only about a year, but I'm past that now. The pain has changed some. Perhaps not as unbearable, or maybe I've learned what to expect and can steel myself against it.

    Anyway, it affects appetite, energy level, balance, coordination and sleep pattern. And, as mentioned above, shingles can return. The chickenpox virus is one that continues to give; it sits in the nervous system waiting to strike. So my wife, fearful of what happened to me, got the Shingrex vaccine. And I did, too. I have now scared everybody I know into getting it. My wife had no reaction other than a few days of arm pain at the injection site. I only had a few hours. We are both in our seventies. People our age do not weather this off-the-wall type of attack well.

    So my message is, spend the money if you have to, but if you had chickenpox get the two-shot Shingrex. Do it today. I think Medicare covers it and most insurance plans will, too. You don't need a prescription. My HMO covered the full price.
    Thanks for your story, Jim3k!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio

    Thanks

    Thanks to budworm for starting this topic. All the discussion provided the "round tuit" I needed to get motivated and finally go get my first shot. And thankfully I had a pretty inconsequential reaction - at least to the first shot. So if you get lucky like I did, it might not be a bad experience. And for those who did have a stronger reaction - sorry. But it still has to be better than getting hammered by shingles.

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