Shingles Vaccine – Should You Consider Taking This Vaccine?

A friend told me recently that her doctor had claimed she considered the new shingles vaccine and she asked for my advice. When answering such a question I consider the following – what is the impact of the disease, what are the ingredients and side effects of the vaccine and are there any natural preventions available. This article summarizes my findings.

What is shingles?

Shingles is a virus; the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles usually occurs in people over the age of 60. A case of shingles begins as a tingling or pain in a localized area which is followed by a rash. A bout of shingles may last several weeks or even longer. If nerve damage occurs as a result of shingle – called post herpetic neuralgia – the pain can continue for much longer, even years. Most people only have shingles once. Only about 4% have more than one episode in a lifetime.

Shingle vaccine ingredients and side effects

The active ingredient in the shingles vaccine is a weakened form of the live chickenpox virus. The active ingredients are sucrose, hydrolyzed porcine gelatin, sodium chloride, monosodium L-glutamate, sodium phosphate dibasic, potassium phosphate monobasic, and potassium chloride. While none of these are exceptionally toxic, many of them I advise against ingesting, most notably monosodium L-glutamate.

Side effects of the shingles vaccine are reported to be limited to redness or irritation at the site of the injection. No long term side effects have been documented, however, the vaccine has only been approved for four years.

Vaccine effectiveness

The shingles vaccine has been found effective in only about 50% of recipients. Vaccinated people who contracted shingles experienced a slightly shorter period of the episode – 20 days instead of 22 days. The level of pain was not significantly different.

Natural preventions

As shinglees is a virus the best natural defense is a healthy immune system. A healthy diet, plenty of exercise and avoidance of toxins is the best way to improve your immune system and prevent shingles. It is also a possibility that the chickenpox vaccine has contributed to the incidence of shingles in people over 60.


While shingles are painful, they are not life threatening. The shingles vaccine is only effective half the time and contains ingredients that are not health – promoting. If you do get shingles you are not likely to experience a recurrence. Following a healthy lifestyle can boost your immune system and decrease your likelihood of contracting shingles.