question and answer
March 2001
"Are there any studies showing whether the varicella vaccine can reduce shingles incidence in the future?" inquires ANN TSANG, MD, of Scarborough, ON.
Immunization of immunocompromised children is a useful setting to study the incidence of zoster following varicella vaccination since these patients are at high risk for zoster occurring within a few years of wild-type varicella. Controlled studies of leukemic children have shown a lower incidence of zoster in vaccines and there's data to suggest the same will be true for healthy vaccinated populations. But definitive information won't be available for another 25 to 30 years. DM
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