The Herpes zoster vaccine: is now available in private clinics in Brazil

Launched in Brazil this month, the vaccine against shingles is now available in private clinics across the country. The disease is a late manifestation of those who have had chickenpox, which often affects people over the age of 50 or immunized patients. It should be administered in two doses, with a duration of two months between applications.

THE Shingrix has received regulatory approval from National Health Monitoring Agency (Anvisa) August 2021 for the prevention of osteoporosis in adults 50 years of age and older and for adults 18 years of age and older who are at high risk of contracting the disease, such as those who are not immune – treated patients cancer, people living with HIV, people who through bone marrow or organ transplantation, lupus, multiple sclerosis, among others.

Each app costs around R $ 843 on a personal network. For a two-dose regimen, with a duration of two months, the total cost is around R $ 1,686. In addition to technology, the exchange rate variation also reflects the final coverage price. According to the pharmaceutical company GSK, the value may vary according to the ICMS of each region of the country and the pricing practice of private clinics. Distribution of the vaccine has begun, with major distribution forecasts in Brazil until July.

“It is indisputable that the impact of new technologies on vaccine production has brought significant improvements to human health. But technology is expensive, so vaccines today have prices that make access difficult, especially in Brazil, which has a significant rate of exchange. “, explains Geraldo Barbosa, president of the Brazilian Association of Vaccine Clinics (ABCVAC), when he insists that the use must be done in accordance with the medical instructions and the recommendation that comes in the package.


In addition to discomfort, pain and skin lesions, herpes zoster, also called shingles, can cause severe sequelae. Left untreated, the disease can cause serious problems, affecting the nerve endings in the eyes, ear, face, and causing paralysis, hearing, and loss of vision. In Brazil, the topic becomes even more important, considering 35.4% increase in reported cases of the diseaseobserved during the Covid-19 epidemic.

“A person has had chickenpox or chickenpox, no matter when, but generally in childhood, and after the clinical picture has passed, the varicella-zoster virus is as if he was lying at the end of a nerve. And when that happens, it usually gets a nervous breakdown, “says Juarez Cunha, president of the Brazilian Immunization Association (Sbim).

Shingrix is ​​more than 90% effective in people over 50, the age at which the virus begins to attack most of the time. In the age group of 50 to 69 years, the efficiency reaches 97%. It is the first vaccine for herpes zoster that can be used in people with weakened immune systems, who have a weakened immune system and are more likely to get the disease. in the case of zostavax, a previous generation vaccine, from the pharmaceutical company MSD, which was not effective, this type of use was also not allowed. “It was a reduced and effective vaccine, but it decreased as the man got older. Licensed from the age of 50 and anvisaThe defense period was not that long either, “explains Juarez.

Shingrix, used in other countries such as the United States, is a vaccine that has not been activated. “The advantage is that it can be used in patients with immunosuppression and is licensed from the age of 18. And, of course, we recommend for people between the ages of 18 and 50 who have a certain risk of the disease. In general, immunocompromised patients and conditions that increase the risk of herpes zoster, such as diabetes. It is also recommended for people over 50 as a standard vaccine “, adds Juarez. In addition, the new vaccine also protects against serious complications of shingles, post-herpetic neuralgia, a disease that causes vesicles (bubbles in the skin) that cause a lot of pain.

In addition to Brazil, Shingrix has already been approved for use in the European Union and in several countries such as the United States, Canada, Japan, China, New Zealand, Singapore and Australia. “It is already available in several countries and is very suitable for people over the age of 50. In addition, it is a vaccine that is safe for people with an autoimmune disease over the age of 18, as it has not been released due to live viruses,” he says. Gunnar Riediger, BioTech Business Unit Leader at GSK.

At this time, no vaccine is available in Unic Health System (SUS).

What is herpes zoster?

Herpes zoster or shingles is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. The virus remains silent throughout one’s life.

Recurrence occurs in adults or in people with immunodeficiency, such as those with chronic diseases (hypertension, diabetes), cancer, AIDS, transplant recipients, among others.

In particular, there are patients who develop schistosomiasis after contact with varicella patients and even with another schistosomiasis patient, which indicates the possibility of re-infection in a person who has already been vaccinated. It is also possible for a baby to get chickenpox due to contact with a pharyngeal patient.

The disease can lead to complications and other serious clinical manifestations, including death.

What are the symptoms?

The clinical picture is almost always present. In most cases, the following symptoms precede skin lesions:

  • neuralgic pain.
  • paresthesias (itching, burning, numbness and pressure);
  • internal burning and itching
  • fever
  • headache
  • malaise

How is the diagnosis made?

The diagnosis is easily made because the lesions affect the nerve endings. It starts with a tingling, tingling sensation and then progresses to the lesions. Many skin lesions called vesicles (small blisters on the skin) rupture and heal.

Other complications are post-herpetic neuralgia, a painful condition that lasts for years. If it affects the facial nerve, it can also cause vision damage.

How is the treatment done?

The sooner the diagnosis is made, the better the medical response. In general, with the use of antivirals. Antipyretic analgesic, non-salicylate and, to reduce pruritus (pus), systemic antihistamines can be administered.

What are the preventive measures?

  • Vaccination (Children are vaccinated against chickenpox at 1 year and 3 months and then 4 years. Young people who can be infected by adults who have not had chickenpox should receive the vaccine. It protects against chickenpox – without chickenpox, no zostrum)
  • Wash hands after touching wounds
  • Exclusion: Children with untreated chickenpox should return to school after all the sores become rash. Children who have immunodeficiency or who have a long-term clinical course should only return to activity after the vesicular rupture is over.

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