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A varicella-zoster virus vaccine reduced the burden of illness of herpes zoster in older adults

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 Q In persons ⩾60 years of age, does a live attenuated varicella-zoster virus (VZV) vaccine decrease the burden of illness caused by herpes zoster and the incidence of postherpetic neuralgia?

Clinical impact ratings GP/FP/Primary care ★★★★★★☆ IM/Ambulatory care ★★★★★★☆ Infectious disease ★★★★★★★


Embedded ImageDesign:

randomised placebo controlled trial (Shingles Prevention Study).

Embedded ImageAllocation:


Embedded ImageBlinding:

blinded (clinicians, participants, {data collectors, outcome assessors, data analysts, and data safety and monitoring committee}).*

Embedded ImageFollow-up period:

mean 3.13 years.

Embedded ImageSetting:

22 sites in the US.

Embedded ImageParticipants:

38 546 persons ⩾60 years of age (median age 69 y, 59% men) who had a history of varicella or had lived in the US ⩾30 years. Immunocompromised persons were excluded.

Embedded ImageIntervention:

1 subcutaneous injection of 0.5 ml of Oka/Merck VZV vaccine (n = 19 270), or placebo (n = 19 276). The vaccine had median estimated potency of 24 600 plaque forming units.

Embedded ImageOutcomes:

vaccine efficacy with respect to the severity of illness …

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  • * See glossary.

  • Information provided by author.

  • For correspondence: Dr M N Oxman, VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA, USA. mnoxman{at}