Shingrix: The New Shingles Vaccine

The New Shingles Vaccine: What You Should Know About Shingrix

The CDC now recommends this vaccine for its strong, longer-lasting protection

Shingrix is the first new shingles vaccine in more than a decade and only the second to ever be approved (Zostavax was the first) by the Food and Drug Administration.

In October the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, came out with three major recommendations for Shingrix, and the CDC officially accepted them.


Now the CDC is recommending that Shingrix—a two-dose vaccine—be given to people starting at age 50, a full 10 years earlier than its advice for getting Zostavax.

The CDC also recommends that people who have already gotten Zostavax should now get Shingrix as well and that Shingrix is officially the preferred vaccine over Zostavax, a single-dose vaccine. Those who’ve had shingles, which occasionally recurs, should also receive Shingrix.

“This looks to be a vaccine that will provide substantially long, persistent protection,” says William Schaffner, M.D., a consultant to the ACIP and a professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. “The body responds to Shingrix much more strongly, compared to Zostavax.”

Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser, notes, “Shingrix should replace Zostavax because the benefit/risk ratio, at the present time, strongly favors Shingrix.”

Zostavax maker Merck, meanwhile, says in a statement that “we believe that a single shot of Zostavax will continue to play an important role in vaccination to help prevent shingles. . . . Consumers should talk with their healthcare providers or pharmacists about each vaccine’s profile (ie, single dose versus two doses) and make the decision on which vaccine may be best for them.”

Here’s what you need to know about the new vaccine and the new recommendations:

Why a New Shingles Vaccine?

Did we need a new shingles vaccine? To answer that question, it helps to have a bit of background on this infection.

Shingles, which is also called herpes zoster, occurs when the chickenpox virus (varicella zoster), which is dormant in those who’ve had the illness, reawakens later in life. Almost all adults older than 40 carry the chickenpox virus—and the older we get, the more the risk of getting shingles climbs. According to the CDC, the infection strikes about 1 million people in the U.S. each year and nearly one in three adults will experience a bout of shingles in their lifetime.

The two to four weeks of shingles, marked by symptoms such as a blistery and painful rash on one side of the body, can be difficult enough. But about one in five people with shingles go on to develop postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN, which is nerve pain that can linger for months or even years.

Since 2006, we’ve had Zostavax—approved for those between 50 and 59 but recommended by the CDC for adults 60 and older—as the sole bulwark against shingles. Zostavax offers 70 percent protection against shingles for people between 50 and 59 but only 18 percent in people 80 and older, according to the Pink Sheet, which reports on the pharmaceutical industry.

When all ages are taken into consideration, Zostavax cuts the chance of shingles by only 51 percent and the risk of PHN by 67 percent.

In addition, Zostavax’s effectiveness appears to last just five years, according to the CDC. And research presented in the fall at IDWeek, an annual meeting for infectious disease professionals, suggests that Zostavax may actually wane after only three years.

The Shingrix vaccine (whose two doses are to be given two to six months apart), according to the CDC, offers 97 percent protection in people in their 50s and 60s and roughly 91 percent protection in those in their 70s and 80s. And it appeared to retain similarly high effectiveness throughout a four-year study period and cut PHN risk by 86 percent.

There are key differences between the ways Shingrix and Zostavax are designed. The new shingles vaccine contains an adjuvant, a substance that boosts the immune system’s response. This may be what makes Shingrix both more effective and longer-lasting, says Schaffner at Vanderbilt.

As with Zostavax, the recommendation is that those who are or will soon be on low-dose immunosuppressive therapy (such as less than 20 mg a day of the steroid prednisone), and those who have recovered from an illness that suppresses the immune system, such as leukemia, can get the vaccine.

Right now, Shingrix is not recommended for older adults who are immunocompromised or are taking moderate to high doses of drugs that suppress the immune system.

But because the new shingles vaccine contains a nonliving viral particle, it may ultimately be deemed appropriate for those with compromised immunity. (Zostavax contains live—although weakened—herpes zoster virus, so those with significantly weakened immune systems should not receive it.) The ACIP will review data on Shingrix in these groups as it becomes available.

“Shingles is a big problem with immunocompromised people,” Schaffner says.

Those who are severely allergic to any component of Shingrix should not get the vaccine, and anyone with active shingles should wait until symptoms resolve. The vaccine hasn’t been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Can It Cause Side Effects?

Like every vaccine, Shingrix has the potential for side effects, although so far, none seem particularly worrisome. The new shingles vaccine does appear to be more likely to cause pain during injection and at the site of injection for up to three days afterward than Zostavax does.

In clinical trials, the side effects also included injection site redness and swelling, muscle pain, and immune system responses such as headache, shivering, fever, and upset stomach. Most, according to GlaxoSmithKline, its manufacturer, lasted less than three days.

Though Shingrix was tested on some 16,600 adults in clinical trials, its real-world use has been limited. The company will be conducting additional safety and efficacy studies over the next few years, and the CDC will be monitoring any adverse events that are reported.

“As with any drug that’s approved on the basis of studies in only thousands, in contrast to millions after approval, strict post-marketing surveillance studies have to be agreed upon, with severe penalties for irregularities,” says CR’s Lipman.

Availability and Cost

According to Schaffner, it’s anticipated that deductibles and co-pays aside, private insurers will probably cover the cost of Shingrix—which is $280 for the two shots. That’s what insurers generally do with Zostavax (which costs $213 for those who have to pay full price, according to the CDC).

However, it may take a little time for all insurers to do this, he says, and Medicare, he notes, may take longer. What’s probable is that like Zostavax, Shingrix will be covered under Medicare Part D. That has posed coverage challenges for some consumers.

St. Patrick’s Day Hike/Run



  • 5-mile Trail Run (ages 10 and up) — Runners begin at 9:30 a.m.
  • 3-mile Trail Hike (ages 10 and up) — Hikers begin at 9:30 a.m.
  • St. Vincent Health 1-mile Trail Run/Hike (ages 6-12) – begins at 10:45 a.m.
  • Tot Trot (ages 5 and under) – begins at 10:55 a.m.
  • Free Kids Zone featuring climbing wall, crafts, games and more!
  • Hospitality Tent for Race Participants
  • Event Management by Tuxedo Brothers
  • Special rates available  for track and cross country teams. For more information call 317-475-9482


Registration and T-shirt Pick Up
Pre-race registration and T-shirt pick up will be in the Holliday Park Nature Center on Friday, March 16 from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Race day registration and packet pick up will be in the Holliday Park Nature Center from 8:00-9:15 a.m.  Limited to 600–must be postmarked by Friday, March 9th.

You must be pre-registered by 4 p.m. Sunday, March 11, to be guaranteed a shirt and goodie bag. There will be no shirts available on race day.

8:00-9:15 a.m……Registration at Holliday Park Nature Center
9:00 a.m…………..Child Care begins (reservations required, children must be at least 2 years old)
9:30 a.m…………..5-mile Trail Run (competitive) & 3-mile Trail Hike
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m….Kids Fitness Zone and Massage Tent
10:45 a.m…………St. Vincent Health 1-mile Children’s Trail Run/Hike (ages 6-12)
10:55 a.m…………Tot Trot (ages 5 and under)
11:15 a.m…………Award Ceremony and Prize Drawing

Supervision will be provided during race events for children of participating parents.  (Prior reservations required – limited to the first 50 children that are signed up)


Holliday Park, 6363 Spring Mill Road, Indianapolis. Race headquarters will be in the Nature Center. (See map.)

View the Course Map HERE!


  • 5-mile Trail Run (runners only) . . . $25.00 (no T-Shirt)
  • 3-mile Trail Hike (walkers only) . . . $25.00 (no T-Shirt)
  • 5-mile Trail Run Race Day Registration (runners only)  . . . $35.00 (no T-shirt)
  • 3-mile Trail Hike Race Day Registration (walkers only)  . . . $35.00 (no T-shirt)

* No refunds. The event is rain or shine.

Children’s Activities

  • St. Vincent Health 1-mile Trail Run/Hike, ages 6-12 (includes short-sleeve t-shirt) . . . $15.00
  • Tot Trot Run ages 5 and under . . . FREE
  • Kid’s Zone . . . FREE
  • Registration on race day does not guarantee a shirt.

Shirt Options (additional cost)

  • Unisex Adult Soft Spun Cotton Slim Fit Short Sleeve T-Shirt……$18.00
  • Unisex Adult Long-Sleeve Technical Shirt……………………………….$24.00
  • Additional short-sleeve youth T-shirt available for purchase…..$12.00


317-475-9482 or 317-327-7180.
Entries over the phone will not be accepted.

Downtown Skywalk Map


The Indianapolis skywalk system is a convenient feature in a city where average winter lows dip below 20 degrees and summer highs creep into the mid-80s. Keep your business attire fresh and your shoes snow-free in any weather with the enclosed platform that connects the Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium to 12 luxurious hotels.


Enhancing Yoga Poses

While yoga can help improve flexibility, posture and balance, the practice of yoga offers so much more, including self-reflection, the practice of kindness to ourselves and others, and continued growth and self-awareness. Of course, all of this is much easier to move toward if you can find a sense of comfort in the poses.

Yoga provides many props to enhance your ability to express a yoga pose. One of the most popular yoga props to use in class is the yoga block. Made from foam, bamboo, wood or cork, the block is often used as an extension of the arms, but can also support the back, head and hips to help the body settle into a pose. Furthermore, yoga blocks:

  • Support range of motion, thereby shortening the distance between you and the floor (“bringing the floor closer to you”).
  • Assist in establishing correct alignment.
  • Help make yoga accessible to beginners and to those experiencing injury or other physical limitations.
  • Bring awareness to properly engage and support muscles in a specific pose.
  • Can be placed at the low, medium and high positions to accommodate more or less support.

Whether you are seated or standing, or have tight hips and shoulders, the following four poses provide excellent examples of using a yoga block to enhance flexibility and find greater enjoyment in your yoga practice.  (see web address below for more info)

Getting Started – Tips for Long-term Exercise Success

Walking, swimming, cycling, jogging, skiing, aerobic dancing or any of dozens of other activities can help your heart. They all cause you to feel warm, perspire and breathe heavily without being out of breath and without feeling any burning sensation in your muscles.

Whether it is a structured exercise program or just part of your daily routine, all exercise adds up to a healthier heart. Take the first step by walking. It’s free, easy to do and when you have a walking companion, you’re more likely to stay motivated.

Here are some tips for exercise success:

Dress for success!

  • Wear comfortable, properly fitted sneakers or flat shoes with laces.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing appropriate for the weather and the activity.

Make the time!

  • Start slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week (or whatever your doctor recommends).
  • Exercise at the same time of day so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle. For example, you might walk every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 12:30 p.m.
  • Find a convenient time and place to do activities. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work activity into your day another way.

Keep reasonable expectations of yourself.

  • If you have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, check with your healthcare provider before beginning a physical activity program.
  • Look for chances to be more active during the day. Walk the mall before shopping, take the stairs instead of the escalator or take 10–15 minute breaks while watching TV or sitting for walking or some other activity.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you stop for a while. Get started again gradually and work up to your old pace.
  • Don’t exercise too vigorously right after meals, when it’s very hot or humid, or when you just don’t feel up to it.

Make it fun!

  • Choose activities that are fun, not exhausting. Add variety. Develop a repertoire of several activities that you can enjoy. That way, exercise will never seem boring or routine.
  • Ask family and friends to join you — you may be more likely to stick with it if you have company. Or join an exercise group, health club or community center. Many churches and senior centers offer exercise programs too. (Remember to get your doctor’s permission first.)
  • Use variety to keep your interest up. Walk one day, swim the next, then go for a bike ride on the weekend.
  • Use music or audio books to keep you entertained.

Track and celebrate your success!

  • Note your activities on a calendar or in a logbook. Write down the distance or length of time of your activity and how you feel after each session.
  • Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones with non-food items, like a small gift or shopping trip for yourself. Nothing motivates like success!


Register Now: Self-Defense Class

Feeling confident and assured are great things.  In today’s world, safety ranks right up there also.  If you would like a chance to grow in all three of these areas, there is an opportunity to do so right here on campus.  All staff and faculty are invited to register for a Self-Defense Class, jointly sponsored by the Health and Recreation Complex (HRC) and Healthy Horizons.

Register if you can attend both classes:

  • Tuesday and Thursday, March 20th and 22nd
  • 12:00-1:00 PM
  • HRC 154
  • No special attire required.

Class is limited to 20 participants.  A non-refundable $10 registration fee is due upon registering.  Register at:

This link provides the registration, release and payment form.

Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email.  We look forward to seeing you in class.