Benefits of the shingles shot outweigh the risks of Guillain-Barré Syndrome - SpecialtyRx
November 22, 2021
Benefits of the shingles shot outweigh the risks of Guillain-Barré Syndrome

Is the shingles shot worth the risk?

A hot topic brought to you by SpecialtyRx, your partner in long-term care


In a study conducted by investigators from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, a small risk of developing Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) was detected in those who received the Shingrix shingles vaccine.

According to the authors of the study, it is important for clinicians to know the risks in order to effectively weigh them against the benefits of the vaccine, which can lower the risks and complications associated with shingles.

GBS is a rare condition, commonly seen in adults and the elderly and is associated with vaccines. It is a neurological disorder that can range in severity from brief weakness to paralysis.

Investigation into documented cases of GBS after vaccination uncovered a risk of three cases per 1 million doses in a 42-day period after full vaccination.

According to the CDC, shingles will affect almost 1 out of every 3 adults in the U.S. with the risk increasing with age. Complications may include postherpetic neuralgia and severe pain. The elderly and immunocompromised are at higher risk for hospitalization and other complications.

According to study authors, “risk-benefit balance remains in favor of vaccination,” and the CDC continues to recommend two doses of Shingrix for adults 50 years and older, whether or not they have had shingles or have been previously vaccinated with Zostavax, which is no longer available for use in the U.S.

“Vaccines have become an important topic of conversation in the past year and at Specialty Rx we always look to bring our clients the latest information on subjects of importance like this,” stated Ankur Dave, Compliance Officer at SpecialtyRx.