Efficacy and Safety of Herpes Zoster Vaccine

german translation / full article

Nora Bachofner


A few years ago a herpes zoster vaccine was introduced in the European Union. What is current best evidence about the efficacy and safety of herpes zoster vaccine? Can the vaccine be generally recommended?


The efficacy of herpes zoster vaccine (Zostavax®) has been evaluated in two large randomized controlled double blind trials as well as in a very large retrospective cohort study. It could be shown that the immunization leads to a significant reduction in herpes zoster morbidity and postherpetic neuralgia. Shingles which break out despite the vaccination, tend to have milder courses of disease. Newer data seem to point out that even patients between 50 and 59 years of age as well as immunocompromised patients may have at least short term beneficial effects from the vaccination. Longterm efficacy and safety have not been sufficiently documented. So far we know little about the duration of the protective effect.

(State: 14.05.2013)

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