Shingles Vaccine and Stroke Risk

Angie SzumlinskiStudies

The CDC recently released information that seniors receiving the shingles vaccine decrease their risk of stroke by up to 20%! That’s pretty impressive when you figure most strokes occur in seniors versus younger adults and that a simple vaccine may make a difference! What their study showed was:

  • Receiving the shingles vaccine lowered the risk of stroke by about 16%
  • It was more beneficial in the 66-79-year old age group, reducing the risk of stroke by 20%
  • Older participants (>80 years old) also benefited as it lowered their risk by about 10%

The CDC has been encouraging anyone over the age of 50 to get the shingles vaccine for years now and with this most recent information, it makes even more sense! The vaccine is a two-step process and requires the second injection within 2-6 months after the first. This requires that your pharmacy be involved in tracking and notifying you when the next vaccine is due. Some centers use the old “tickler” system as well, more as a back-up plan to be sure the second dose is not overlooked. As with any medication, these vaccines are not without risk so remember, if you are encouraging your residents to have the vaccine provide them with the risk information just as you provide with the flu and pneumococcal vaccines. Be sure the resident is able to understand the written document or have someone read it to them or their responsible party and sign/date prior to administering the vaccine. Science Daily published the study and you can access the full text here.