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zoster vaccine, live

(zoe-ster vak-seen) ,


(trade name)


Therapeutic: vaccines immunizing agents
Pharmacologic: active immunizer
Pregnancy Category: C


Reduces the risk of shingles in patients ≥50 yr.


Boosts immunity by actively immunizing against the varicella-zoster virus.

Therapeutic effects

Reduced risk of shingles and its sequelae.


Absorption: Well absorbed following subcut administration.
Distribution: Unknown.
Metabolism and Excretion: Unknown.
Half-life: Unknown.

Time/action profile



Contraindicated in: History of anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions to gelatin, neomycin, or other vaccine components; Primary/acquired immunodeficiency states (including leukemia, lymphoma, AIDS); Concurrent immunosupressive medications (including high dose corticosteroids); Acute febrile illness (>38.5° C or 101.3° F; Active untreated tuberculosis; Obstetric: Pregnancy; Pediatric: Children.
Use Cautiously in: Obstetric: Child-bearing potential (pregnancy should be avoided for 3 mo following vaccination); Obstetric: Lactation.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects


  • swelling
  • redness
  • pain
  • swelling


Drug-Drug interaction

Concurrent immunosupressants including antineoplastics and high dose corticosteroids may ↓ response to and ↑ risk of adverse reactions.Pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax 23) may ↓ response; do not administer concomitantly.


Subcutaneous (Adults ≥50 yr) 0.65 mL (contents of 1 vial).


Lyophylized powder for injection (with diluent): at least 19,400 PFU/0.65 mL

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess patient for immunosuppressant medications or reactions to previous vaccines. Administration may result in a more extensive vaccine-associated rash or disseminated disease in immunocompromised patients.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Risk for infection (Indications)


  • Subcutaneous: Reconstitute using only diluent supplied. Use a separate sterile needle for reconstitution and administration. Vaccine is stored frozen; reconstitute immediately upon removing from freezer. Store diluent at room temperature. Withdraw entire contents of diluent into syringe and inject into vaccine vial. Agitate gently to mix. Solution should be semi-hazy to translucent, off-white to pale yellow. Do not administer solutions that are discolored or contain particulate matter. Administer only subcut, preferably in the upper arm. Have epinephrine injection available in case of anaphylactic reactions.
    • Discard vaccine if not used within 30 min of reconstitution. Do not freeze reconstituted solution.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Explain purpose of vaccine to patient. Provide patient with a copy of the Patient Information Sheet.
  • Advise patient to notify health care professional if pregnancy is planned or expected. Pregnancy should be avoided for 3 mo after administration of vaccine.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Reduced risk of shingles and its sequelae.


(zō′stă-văks″) [From zo(ster) + vacc(ine)]
Varicella-zoster virus vaccine.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In comparison, Zostavax is 64 percent effective in people in their sixties, but this drops to about 40 percent in those age 70 and up, and further decreases to protect only about 18 percent of those age 80 and older.
However, in trials, Zostavax showed only a 51 percent reduction in shingles and a 67 percent reduction in the nerve pain that can accompany shingles, while Shingrix proved about 98 percent effective for one year and 85 percent over three years.
Zostavax, also indicated in individuals aged 50 years or older, is a live attenuated virus vaccine.
In conjunction, the data from the company's studies of people vaccinated with Shingrix, who were previously vaccinated with Zostavax, have been presented to the ACIP and have been published in peer-reviewed journals, but have not yet been reviewed by the US FDA.
In the vaccine's pivotal clinical trials, efficacy was significantly higher than the levels seen for the only currently approved zoster live vaccine, Zostavax, especially for older populations.
On January 30, 2015, the public health department of a Maryland hospital was notified of a patient who developed a disseminated rash after receiving the live attenuated zoster vaccine, Zostavax (Merck).
The Magnolia pharmacy has been a full-service adult and childhood immunization provider for some time, so patients know they will be able to get an adult vaccine such as Zostavax or a pneumococcal vaccine, as well as travel immunizations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a one-time Zostavax vaccination for people 50 and older.
A vaccine called Zostavax is now available to anyone aged between 70-78 on the NHS and it can be paid for privately for anyone over 80.
The joint ventures flagship items comprise Gardasil for human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, Zostavax for shingles, and Hexyon, a 6-in-1 vaccine for infant immunization.
Walgreens will provide a sample size sunblock for the first 50 people who arrive for the presentation and a $10 off coupon for Zostavax - a shingles vaccination for everyone attending this event.
A vaccine update from Public Health England (PHE) said there were likely to be periods when there was no stock at all of the Zostavax vaccine.