Shingles and pneumonia vaccines may be given together

In a recent blog, (If you’re 50 or older, get the shingles vaccine) I told you the good news that the shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine is now available to those 50 and older. In addition, the pneumonia vaccine (pneumoccal vaccine) is now also indicated for many adults younger than 65 (i.e., smokers and those with diabetes, asthma, COPD, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and a number of high-risk factors). But, can these immunizations be given together?

Medscape reported, “Giving pneumococcal and herpes zoster vaccines to patients during the same visit may be beneficial without compromising the protective effect of the zoster vaccine,” according to a study in the journal Vaccine.

Researchers used “electronic health records to compare the incidence of herpes zoster after vaccination with a zoster vaccine in patients 60 years or older who received both vaccines on the same day (n = 7187) vs that in patients receiving a pneumococcal vaccine within one year to 30 days before receiving zoster vaccine (n = 7179).”

They found that the herpes zoster incidence was 4.54 “per 1000 person-years in the concomitant vaccination cohort and 4.51” per 1000 person-years in the “nonconcomitant vaccination” cohort. After adjustment, the “HR was 1.19.”

In other words, it’s safe and effective to get both vaccines at the same time.

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