Six weeks ago I wrote about Zostavax, a vaccine that prevents shingles.  At that time I suggested waiting to see if the CDC was going to recommend it.  Last week the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that all adults over 60 who have had chicken pox receive the vaccine.  The press release about the ACIP’s recommendation is here.  The Medical Letter review of Zostavax reported that shingles causes a very strong immune response, and once an adult has shingles, it is very unlikely she will ever have it again.  So they do not think the vaccine is helpful in adults who have already had shingles.

Therefore I’m recommending Zostavax to all patients over 60 who have had chicken pox but not shingles.  It’s a single shot, and the duration of efficacy is still unknown, meaning it’s possible that the protection will wane after a few years.  We don’t keep the vaccine in stock.  We order each dose as patients request it, and Merck ships it to us within two days of our order.

If you’d like to be vaccinated, please call the office to find out the price and schedule an appointment.

Tangential Miscellany:

In response to my post about the importance of daily weighing to maintain weight loss, Matthew Lehrer informed me about a software program that he has found very helpful in losing weight.  CalorieKing is a program that helps you track your eating and exercise and makes recommendations to help you achieve success.  It also has a PDA version so you can enter your food when eating away from home.  I would love to hear about anyone else’s experiences with it.