The researches find that the vaccinating older adults against shingles in Canada is likely cost-effective, according to a study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), and the Shingrix vaccine appears to provide better protection than the Zostavax vaccine. Herpes zoster, or shingles; affects about 1 in every 3 adults, causing a painful rash that can result in long-term pain in 8% to 27% of people. The study used a model to compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the recombinant subunit (RZV, Shingrix) and live attenuated zoster (LZV, Zostavax) vaccines in adults aged 50 years and older in Canada.

Vaccinating older adults

The LZV vaccine has been available in Canada since 2008, and RZV is approve in 2017. The number of people need to be vaccinated to prevent one case of shingles was lower for RZV (Shingrix) than for LZV (Zostavax) for all ages. For example; in people aged 60 years; the number needed to vaccinate was 18 for RZV and 78 for LZV. Our model predicted that the recombinant subunit zoster vaccine is likely cost-effective in Canada for adults 60 years or older and that it provides greater health benefits than the live attenuated zoster vaccine for all age groups.”

Dr. Marc Brisson, Centre de research du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Québec and the Université Laval; Québec, Quebec, with coauthors The study results are consistent with other economic evaluations in the United States and the Netherlands. As they get older; our immune systems become slightly less effective at protecting us from disease. This means that we become more prone to catching infections; and once we catch an infection we can take longer to recover.

Less effective at protecting

Also, they may lose some of our immunity to diseases we were vaccinated against in childhood. And some infectious diseases, such as the flu; can make us much sicker than they used to when we were younger; and can even lead to life-threatening complications. The best way of protecting yourself from serious infections is to be vaccinated against them. Three common but potentially dangerous diseases that older people should be vaccinated against are influenza; pneumococcal disease and shingles (herpes zoster).

Booster vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough are also recommended for older people. The flu generally makes you feel much worse than the common cold does; and can also lead to more serious health problems. Older people are particularly prone to complications from the flu, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs), and even death. Influenza vaccination has been shows to reduce the risk of being hospitalise due to influenza and pneumonia in those aged 65 years and older.