Shingles Vaccination Keeping Pandora’s Box Closed

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Published on : October 13, 2022

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What has changed in terms of Herpes Zoster guidance and why we should continue to care?

Author Reviewer

Christine Palmay, MD, CCFP, FCFP
Midtown Health and Wellness Clinic
Toronto, ON 

 Vivien Brown, MDCM, CCFP, FCFP, NCMP

Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Peer Voice, MDBriefcase, STA Communications; Board Member of Immunize Canada, Women’s Brain Health

Toronto, ON


Even prior to a newfound patient medical awareness regarding primary care disease prevention (thank you COVID!), the public has always had an general understanding (or fear!) of that horrible rash that rears it’s ugly head at the most inopportune time…..shingles!


There is no doubt that I have seen a vast increase in shingles cases during the pandemic, attributable to stress and lack of chronic disease management.  As I often tell patients, viruses don’t care about convenience. They strike without sympathy and often during the most inconvenient times. Patients often understand that early diagnosis is important, but as health care providers we must change the discussion and promote the best treatment – early prevention.


While patients likely are aware of the acute symptoms of a herpes zoster infection, it is imperative that we remind them that vaccination is also important to prevent:

  1. Severe infection (such as Herpes Zoster opthalmicus or oticus)
  2. Severe infection leading to hospitalization
  3. Long-term complications (post herpetic neuralgia). Ask any patient who suffers from PHN and they will likely articulate the devastating effect on their quality of life and loss of independence.




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