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HHS HealthBeat (January 7, 2014)

Chickenpox and shingles

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

It seems having more children getting the chickenpox vaccination does not increase shingle cases among seniors. Some researchers have wondered if the two were connected because chickenpox and shingles stem from the same virus and exposure to chickenpox may provide a natural boost in immunity. More vaccinated children may mean fewer seniors get this natural boost.

But researcher Craig Hales of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked closely at vaccination rates and shingles rates, and he says they’re not connected:

"Even when we looked at shingles rates 10 years after increasing vaccination coverage, there was no connection between chickenpox vaccination in children and shingles in older adults."

He does suggest getting vaccinated at age 60 or older to reduce the risk of getting shingles.

The study is in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss

Last revised: January 7, 2014