Francis A. Komara. Herpes Zoster Vaccination: Benefits and Barriers. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2009;109(6_suppl_2):S22–S24. doi: .
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The incidence and severity of herpes zoster increases with advancing age, as does its most common complication—postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). The most effective management strategy for herpes zoster and PHN is prevention of the disease through vaccination, particularly in the most vulnerable patient population (ie, individuals aged 70 years or older). The Shingles Prevention Study demonstrated that vaccination reduced the incidence and severity of herpes zoster, as well as the incidence of PHN. Despite the benefits of zoster immunization, administration of the vaccine may be met by certain barriers, including issues related to reimbursement, storage, and availability of the vaccine. Educating physicians and the public about the importance of herpes zoster prevention, while underscoring the pain associated with this disease and the challenges in managing it, will help to overcome these barriers.
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