Well, yet another vaccine is coming your way. This one is for shingles. And they wont be after kids for this one. They will be gunning for you – if you are over the age of 50. Why? Because if you contract shingles, you might be pummeled with chronic intractable pain. So marketing hype will try to scare you to death to get you to submit to the injection. But is shingles really what you should fear?
Shingles is a viral infection caused by the chicken pox virus, Herpes Zoster. In the old days, you would get chicken pox as a kid, and never be bothered with the virus again – as long as your natural immunity held up. However, if your immunity to the virus wanes; a second exposure can send the virus into a nerve root. The illness causes extreme pain along the path of the nerve. I know; I had it in college. Its excruciating!
Chicken pox is one of the most benign illnesses. It rarely causes complications. Yet the medical mob saw fit to ram the chicken pox vaccine into the vaccine schedule of our children, denying them yet one more opportunity to have their immune systems naturally exercised. Of course, the shingles vaccine is merely a chicken pox vaccine in a higher dose. But these vaccines are notorious for failing to provide lifelong immunity. The millions of kids so vaccinated may be at greater risk for shingles later in life. But there is a greater problem for you because of the vaccine for kids.
Lifelong immunity to a previously acquired infection is in large part dependent on your continuing exposure to the microbe. As chicken pox once roamed through the younger population, you would be exposed and your immune system would remember it. You would develop a very quick response and repel the invasion. Your immune systems surveillance for the virus would be maintained.
Now with kids getting vaccinated, chicken pox is waning in the population. Your resistance to it is no longer getting exercised. When a long enough period goes by, your resistance might fall enough to permit infection when you are exposed the next time. Voila! Shingles appears.
Shingles is generally self-limiting, like chicken pox. However if you are older and contract it, you run a greater risk of getting a condition called post-herpetic neuralgia. This terrible condition is characterized by severe pain in the path of the original shingles infection. And the pain can be so bad in some that its disabling. Its for that reason that this vaccine will be pushed.
Should you take it?
If there were no alternative to treating shingles, I would consider it. However, there are great alternatives. I have treated several dozen people with acute shingles with either high-dose intravenous vitamin C or oxidation therapy (ultraviolet blood irradiation therapy, hydrogen peroxide IV, or ozone). When caught early, the disease was shortened to just a few days rather than a week or more. Furthermore, I never saw one of these treated people progress to shingles complications. My colleagues have seen the same results.
And with the science Ive told you about vitamin D and the flu, you will probably receive shingles protection from that awesome nutrient (up to 5,000 IU daily) as well.
Ref: Kauffman, J.M. J Am Phys Surg, 2005:10:117.