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Q&A: I've had shingles—should I still get the vaccine?

Consumer Reports News: February 03, 2010 06:38 AM

I’m 77 and recently had shingles. Should I still get the vaccine? —J.V., New York City

It’s not a bad idea. The vaccine reduces not only the risk of getting shingles—a painful, blistering rash caused by the reactivation of the virus that causes chicken pox—but the severity of the illness if you do get it. That’s an important benefit, since shingles can cause nerve pain that lasts for months or even years, and in rare cases can lead to vision or hearing loss, infections, and pneumonia.

While getting shingles twice isn’t common, it does occur, so it makes sense to do what you can to prevent or lessen a repeat case. Make sure the rash is completely gone before getting the shot, and tell the doctor providing it that you recently had shingles.

See our safety information on the shingles vaccine , and take a look at the tests and vaccinations you need  and the ones you can skip .

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