Health Professional Newsletter: The Data on Herpes Zoster Vaccines


Shingrix vs Zostavax

  • Shingrix – available 2018
    • Inactivated vaccine
    • 2 doses separated by 2-6 months
    • improved efficacy
    • maintained efficacy in age 70+
  • Zostavax
    • live attenuated vaccine
    • single dose

Evidence supports the vaccination of both immunocompetent and some immunocompromised individuals to reduce the risk of an acute shingles infection.

The Data

Zostavax – the efficacy is often quoted as 50%; when looking at the evidence, this translates into a NNT of 59 for shingles prevention and 364 for post-herpetic neuralgia prevention. Also, it has been noted that with increasing age the Zostavax may have lower efficacy, in particular for patients over 70.

Shingrix – The advertised efficacy for this vaccine is 97%. The data from the trials illustrates a NNT of 37 for shingles prevention, and 335 for post-herpetic neuralgia prevention. Although there is a reduction in the NNT, it is not nearly as impressive as the 97% that is being advertised. However, Shingrix does appear to maintain efficacy in the older patient cohorts.

The actual duration of coverage is a question left unanswered for both vaccines, as Zostavax has a confirmed efficacy up to 4 years, and Shingrix has similarly been studied for around 4 years.

Contact us if you have further questions about the herpes zoster vaccines.

July 19th Lunch Discussion: Medical Cannabis

How are patients currently accessing cannabis? How is this going to change with its legalization? What do healthcare providers need to know about medical cannabis? Visit BioPro Biologics Pharmacy (845 W Broadway, Vancouver) for a lunch discussion from 12-1pm on Thursday, July 19th to learn about access and options for medical cannabis presented by one of our clinical pharmacists, Kevin Wang. Lunch and beverages will be provided.

Please RSVP at or fax 778-379-8160.event timeline - osteoarthritis management - clinic presentation-1