By: Bob Livingston
Shingles is caused by a reactivation of dormant varicella zoster (chicken pox) virus. It is most common in older adults and people with immune systems weakened by stress, injury, medications or other reasons.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the shingles vaccine “to reduce the risk of shingles and its associated pain in people 60 years old or older.” According to David Brownstein, M.D., the question of whether to have the shingles vaccine is one of the most asked by his patients.
Since the vaccine is recommended by the CDC, there should be some evidence that it is effective. Brownstein’s analysis of the evidence provided in a research paper titled “Prevention of Herpes Zoster in Older Adults” indicates it’s not nearly as effective as the CDC would have you believe.
Under the section heading Practice Pointers, Brownstein found these gems:
“[T]he author states that, over a median surveillance period of 3.12 years, with over 52,000 participants, there was a 51% relative risk reduction in confirmed cases of herpes zoster in those that received the vaccine. Furthermore, the author stated that among those aged 60-69, the number needed to treat to prevent one case of shingles was 50. Among those 70 years and older, the number needed to treat was 100.
“These numbers show that, in those aged 60-69, the shingles vaccine was ineffective for 98% (forty-nine out of fifty) of those studied. For those aged 70 and older, the vaccine was 99% ineffective, since 99 out of 100 received no benefit.”
So according to the data, the shingles vaccine was a 98 percent to 99 percent failure. Also, the number needed to harm from the vaccine was 2.8. That means that for every 2.8 vaccines administered, one patient was harmed. And for every 100 vaccinated, one patient suffered a severe adverse reaction like a rash, fever or hospitalization.
Brownstein then presented this evidence in the form of a letter to the editor of the American Family Physician Journal. The letter was rejected without explanation.
So should you have the shingles vaccine? The evidence indicates the answer is “no.” It further indicates the medical establishment doesn’t want you to know this.
The best product that we have found to ease the pain and blistering is L-Lysine, an essential amino acid, found at any pharmacy or health food store. It is available as an oral supplement and as a topical ointment. It is also excellent for the relief of cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus.
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