The shingles vaccine is one of the most widely marketed vaccines on the market. It is difficult to turn on your television in any capacity without enduring some celebrity endorsement over Zostavax. Approved in 2006, the vaccine uses a live virus. And it’s a big seller. But Merck’s manufactured goldmine also has a bit of a “murky” history in terms of side effects.
First, in 2015, the vaccine was found to cause cases of chickenpox (the precursor to shingles). This led to a side effect being added to the label: Shingles. The vaccine targeting people looking to prevent or cure shingles was actually listing shingles as a potential side effect.
This past February, the situation worsened for Zostavax consumers as the FDA listed eye disorders to the list of side effects. Specifically listed was necrotizing retinitis and keratitis. This disorder causes scarring and inflammation of the eyes. It can lead to a loss of vision if left untreated. Researchers found that 20 cases of keratitis in both children and adults occurred within one month of taking the chickenpox of shingles vaccine. The researchers declared there was a likely relationship between the eye disorder and the vaccine but also stated that the research wasn’t intended to prove such. Instead, researchers put out this warning:
“While this is a rare occurrence, it’s important for physicians to know when giving the vaccine to individuals who have a history of the condition because it could be reactivated by the vaccine,” he said
This vaccine also contains monosodium glutamate, or MSG, as it is more popularly known as. The American Heart Association calls MSG “common trigger for Atrial fibrillation.” It has also been linked to killing brain cells, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
The shingles vaccine has the highest concentration of gelatin of any vaccine. Gelatin is a protein that can cause inflammation. There is a strong relationship between systemic allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis and injected gelatin. Allergic cross-reactions also occur to gelatin-containing foods.
More Shingles Vaccine Side Effects
Here is a list of side effects the manufacturer claims:
- allergic reactions, which may be serious and may include difficulty in breathing or swallowing
- hives at the injection site
- joint pain
- muscle pain
- rash at the injection site
- swollen glands near the injection site (that may last a few days to a few weeks)
Before taking any vaccine, know and understand the potential for side effects. Read the labels and do the research. Treat vaccines the same as any medicine you might be prescribed. The primary difference? If you have a reaction to a medication you can stop taking the pills. Have a reaction to a vaccine? You can’t un-vaccinate.