HealthDay News — The shingles vaccine is safe and well tolerated in older adults, despite an increased risk of allergic reaction in the days following vaccination, according to a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

To investigate the risk of prespecified adverse events requiring medical attention, Hung Fu Tseng, PhD, from Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, and colleagues examined data from 193,083 adults (aged ≥50 years) who received a zoster vaccine from January 2007 through December 2008. Data were extracted from eight managed care organizations participating in the Vaccine Safety Datalink project, and prespecified adverse events were identified from International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes.

The researchers found that there was a significantly increased risk of allergic reaction within one to seven days of vaccination [relative risk [RR]=2.13, 95% CI: 1.87–2.40 using the case-centered method; RR=2.32, 95% CI: 1.85–2.91 by self-controlled case series analysis). There was no increased risk identified for cerebrovascular events; cardiovascular events; meningitis, encephalitis, and encephalopathy; or Ramsay-Hunt syndrome and Bell’s palsy.

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“The results of this study support the findings from the prelicensure clinical trials, providing reassurance that the zoster vaccine is generally safe and well tolerated with a small increased risk of allergic reactions in one to seven days after vaccination,” the authors write.

Tseng HF. J Intern Med. 2012; 271:510-520.