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Educational Strategies to Improve Herpes Zoster Vaccination in Older Adults

Herpes zoster (HZ), also known as shingles, is a painful clustered rash that develops along one or two dermatomes, and is most common on the face, trunk, or extremities. One of every three individuals in the United States who contract HZ is also at risk for developing post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). The HZ incidence increases with age but typically affects people over the age of 60. Several studies have found that HZ affects the physical and mental well-being of already diseasestricken elderly. To prevent the occurrence of HZ and its complications, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that individual over the age of 50 receive the recombinant zoster vaccine (RZV), Shingrix over the zoster vaccine live (ZVL) or Zostavax. This partly due to ZVL’s waning efficacy. As one way to increase vaccination rates among people 60 years and older, educational strategies were implemented to gauge HZ awareness and the willingness to receive the vaccine. The educational program was implemented at a senior center with 20 participants. Post survey results at that site showed 80% were very and somewhat likely to receive the vaccine. A pre and post survey study was conducted among 25 adults over the age of 60, in a Midwest urgent care clinic. The pre and post survey results suggest 100% awareness of HZ disease. Participants were very and somewhat likely to seek more information from their health care provider about the HZ vaccine, and likely to accept and schedule to receive the vaccine. Efficacy was one notable barrier and the participant’s readiness denoted “not now” because most participants came in with an acute illness. The survey suggests the importance of health care provider’s effort to improve vaccination rates through education.


Imelda N Forsberg*, Rhonda W Comrie, Debra Jenkins and Deborah Jezuit

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