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Panel advises shingles shots

October 26, 2006|From the Associated Press

ATLANTA — An influential government advisory panel recommended Wednesday that Americans 60 and older get vaccinated against shingles, a painful rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.

The recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices usually are accepted by federal health officials, and they influence insurance companies' decisions on which vaccinations to cover.

Shingles is a blistering skin rash that is most common in older people. It usually goes away after about four weeks, but one in five sufferers develops severe long-term nerve pain known as postherpetic neuralgia.

No vaccine was available until May, when the Food and Drug Administration licensed Zostavax, made by Merck & Co.

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