FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Study finds herpes zoster vaccine effective after chemotherapy

A study published on Tuesday revealed that the herpes zoster vaccine continues to be effective in protecting older adults from shingles even after they undergo chemotherapy.

The study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente, was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

"The zoster vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in elderly adults with healthy immune systems but until now, there has been a lack of data on whether the vaccine remains safe and effective for individuals who might have compromised immune systems resulting from treatments like chemotherapy," Hung Fu Tseng, an expert for the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation and lead author of the study, said.

The study examined the electronic records of more than 21,000 Kaiser Permanente patients 60 years of age and older who received chemotherapy between 2007-2012. Researchers discovered that patients who were previously received the zoster vaccine were 42 percent less likely to develop shingles after chemotherapy.

"Our study demonstrates that older patients who had previously been vaccinated against shingles have a lower chance of developing this painful and often debilitating disease after chemotherapy," Tseng said.

The study also found that no vaccinated patients underwent hospitalization for shingles, while six unvaccinated patients did seek hospital treatment for the disease.