The Shingles Vaccine – What You Need to Know

by VacRLib | Dec 9, 2015 |

by Sherri Tenpenny, DO, AOBNMM, ABIHM

Humans are the only known host for the herpes varicella-zoster virus (VZV) that causes varicella, commonly known as chickenpox. A very benign infection, chickenpox was a “milestone disease," with most children contracting the infection between the ages of 8 and 12. Recovery resulted in life-time immunity and the development of antibodies to later pass to infants through breast milk.

As immunity wanes, the VZV can reactivate, leading to a painful rash referred to as shingles. The zoster rash is unilateral, does not cross the midline and follows a distribution along a dermatome, an area of the skin supplied by nerves from a single spinal root. The painful rash usually lasts 7-10 days with complete healing within 3-4 weeks. Sometimes shingles can be difficult to diagnose, when the classic symptoms are present without the rash.

The most severe, and often debilitating, complication of shingles is post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a searing, residual nerve pain that can last weeks or months. On occasion, the pain can be permanent. About 18% of patients with confirmed herpes zoster develop PHN. Another severe complication is herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), a shingles outbreak in or near the eye. If not aggressively treated, HZO can result in loss of vision.

Until recently, shingles was almost exclusively diagnosed in those who were elderly orimmunosuppressed by steroids, chemotherapy or diabetes. Today, children, young adults and healthy seniors are experiencing shingles. In fact, the incidence of shingles after varicella vaccination among otherwise healthy children is approximately 18 per 100,000 person years, or 1 in 5000. The change in demographics began in 1995, with the release of the chickenpox vaccine, Varivax. Prior to the vaccine, parents and grandparents had their long-term immunity boosted when they were exposed to a child with active chickenpox. With very little varicella in circulation, immunity is waning. Dr. Gary Goldman predicted in this book, The Chickenpox Vaccine: A New Epidemic of Disease and Corruption, that more than 50 million adults in the U.S. alone will experience shingles in their lifetime.

Instead of stopping the chickenpox mass vaccination program, the FDA approved a new vaccine for adults in 2006 called Zostavax, a vaccine developed to prevent shingles. We are now creating vaccines to address problems caused by vaccines.

Zostavax contains a weakened chickenpox virus and can shed to others. Some patients inoculated with Zostavax were found to shed the vaccine-strain virus through their saliva for one month after vaccination. There are documented cases of infection from coming in contact with a recently vaccinated individual. If someone has received a shingles vaccine, theyshould be advised to avoid contact with newborns, pregnant women and those who are immunosuppressed for up to a month.

Does Zostavax prevent shingles?

From the beginning, Zostavax was never very effective. In a recent study, posted in the “New This Week” member’s section of the encouraged the use of Zostavax boosters even though Zostavax showed only a 51.3% efficacy in preventing shingles in people 60-69 years of age – not much better than the flip of a coin. And Zostavax was even less protective in older citizens. For the 70-79 age group, the vaccine demonstrated a 41% efficacy and for octogenarians, protection was even less, around 18%. In fact, the truth about the shingles shot may be even worse than a lack of protection.

More than 25,000 adverse effects from Zostavax have been reported to VAERS. A review article on Herpes Zoster, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) generated a comment by Jeffrey Cohen, MD, regarding the number of serious adverse events (AEs) after the shingles vaccine:

  • For persons over 60, there is a 36% increase incidence of serious AEs within the first 42 days when data from FDA safety study was combined data from the Shingles Prevention Study.
  • For persons over 80, the ability of the vaccine to prevent shingles or PHN was no better than placebo AND these seniors had nearly double the rate of serious AEs in the first 42 days after the vaccination.

Will Zostavax decrease pain?

The vaccine industry frequently touts that even if the vaccine doesn’t keep you from getting sick, you will have a “less severe case” of the infection. Not true with Zostavax. The FDA reported in those who were vaccinated and still developed shingles, the severity of pain was the same as the pain experienced in those who contracted shingles but had not been vaccinated. And the vaccinated group reported the pain was only two days less intense than the pain experienced by the unvaccinated group (20 days vs. 22 days).

There has been a recent trend by physicians to give the shingles vaccine to adults who have already had shingles to prevent a reoccurrence. One study involved more than 6,000 people 60 years or older. Researchers followed them for an average of 2 years. After recovering from shingles, about 20% were given the shingles vaccine. Researchers concluded that getting shingles a second time was uncommon, whether or not a vaccine was given.

Does Zostavax save the healthcare system money?

The zoster shot has not lessened the burden of disease; in fact, it has significantly increased the cost of care. Prior to 1993, and during the first 5 years of using the chickenpox vaccine, the rate of hospitalizations due to shingles did not change. Beginning in 2001, hospitalizations began to increase, and by 2004 the overall rate of hospitalization was 2.5 cases of shingles per 10,000 U.S. population, significantly higher than any year prior to 2002. Hospital fees increased bymore than $700 million annually by 2004; in particular, persons aged 60 years or older accounted for 74% of the total annual hospital charges in 2004.

Can Zostavax Be Given With Other Vaccines?

The package insert warns that the vaccine should not be given at the same time as the adult pneumonia shot BUT it is “safe” to be given at the same time as a flu shot. Seniors beware! If you are given both injections at the same time, this is what will be injected into your body:

  • Shingles shot - Zostavax:
    • Viral Particles: At least 19,400 PFU (plaque forming units) – 14 times more viral particles than in the chickenpox vaccine
    • Animal cells:
      • Piggelatin – 15.58mg – known to cause anaphylaxis and food allergies
      • Cow: bovine serum - known to contain stray viruses that can cause human disease
    • Aborted Human cells: MRC-5 cells
    • Antibiotic: neomycin
    • Chemical: sodium chloride (table salt), 4.0 mg
    • Chemical: MSG, 0.62mg
    • Chemical: sodium phosphate dibasic, 0.57mg
    • Chemical: potassium phosphate monobasic, 0.10mg
    • Chemical: potassium chloride, 0.10 mg
    • Chemical: sucrose, 31.16 mg
  • Flu shot – ex: Fluzone
    • Viral particles: 45 mcg
    • Animal cells:
      • Chicken: residual egg protein
      • Pig: gelatin  0.5mg
    • Chemical: sodium phosphate
    • Chemical: formaldehyde, 75 mcg - known carcinogen
    • Chemical: octylphenol ethooxylate, 75 mcg - thought to interfere with hormones in animals; may interfere with the development and reproductive system in animals. Harmful to marine life.
    • Chemical: thimerosal – mercury – 12.5mcg to 25 mcg per dose

Are you willing to put this into your body for a 50:50 chance of avoiding the shingles?

What To Do Instead of the Shingles Shot

Vitamin C is a first line antioxidant to protect against viral illnesses. The higher the blood levels of vitamin C, the more shingles can be avoided. It is well known that much higher doses of vitamin C can be taken and absorbed when a person is ill than can be tolerated when healthy. Taking vitamin C ascorbates daily is one of the best ways to keep the herpes zoster virus in check.

Integrative physicians have long known that large doses of vitamin C are highly effective treating shingles. An oral protocol recommended by The Vitamin C Foundation suggests starting with 3000 mg powdered vitamin C ascorbates. Repeat the dose every 30 to 60 minutes until you experience a single episode of loose stool (not quite diarrhea). At that point, reduce the dosage to stop the loose stools, usually around 2000 mg every hour. Continue to take vitamin C until the painful symptoms are relieved. At the same time, be sure that your 25-OH Vitamin D level is between 80-100 ng/mL.

If you have access to an IV protocol, the pain can definitely be modulated and quickly eliminated with intravenous vitamin C, usually given at a higher dosage than in this case report:

A case report of two patients (females aged 67 and 53 years) who were diagnosed with shingles and PHN received 15 g of vitamin C was administered intravenously every second day over a period of two weeks. Sudden and total remission of the neuropathic was observed with complete remission of the skin lesions within 10 days.

The shingles vaccine is one of many vaccines the Mainstream Establishment will be pushing on seniors over the next few years. Knowing the risks and lack of benefit should help your decision to keep saying NO.

Photo by NIAID 


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Comment by Sojourner on December 10, 2015 at 3:08pm

Thanks Larry.. good point.. "creating vaccines to address problems caused by vaccines."  How utterly absurd is that!

Comment by Lawrence Edward Calcutt on December 10, 2015 at 2:59pm

A very damning statement if its true. Maybe we should all avoid this new vaccine for.... Shingles.

Please read the whole Blog before you run to your friendly Doctor.

Print paste :

Instead of stopping the chickenpox mass vaccination program, the FDA approved a new vaccine for adults in 2006 called Zostavax, a vaccine developed to prevent shingles. We are now creating vaccines to address problems caused by vaccines.

Need I say more?


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