Calling on Canadians over 60

The Canadian Centre for Vaccinology is conducting a survey to see how shingles affects Canadians over 60.

A new vaccine against the virus that causes shingles is due to be licensed in Canada in late 2007. This vaccine has been shown to significantly reduce the number of shingles attacks in people over 60, and to significantly reduce the severity of attacks that do occur. Currently, we don’t know how much demand there is for this vaccine in Canadians over 60, and how much burden of illness is caused by shingles in this population.

The Canadian Centre for Vaccinology has constructed a survey to gather information about how shingles affects Canadians over 60, and to assess their opinions about vaccines in general and the shingles vaccine specifically. People over 60 are being asked to give their help by completing this online survey.

No personal information will be recorded except for your age, gender and province of residence – not your name, address, telephone number or email address. The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

If you are interested, please click on the link below to take you to the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology website where you will be asked to enter a password. The password is “shingles” (without the quotation marks). Feel free to take as much time as you like to complete the survey. If you would like to pause and come back later, you may do so at any time: your responses will be saved, and you will be provided with the option to bookmark the page. You can also request to have an email sent to you, which will direct you to the place you left off.

To participate in the survey, click the following link:

About Shingles
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies in your body in an inactive form. Years later, the virus can become active again as shingles.

Shingles causes a painful rash that can be serious if it occurs on the face or near the eyes. It can also lead to a debilitating complication called postherpetic neuralgia, which causes the skin to remain painful and sensitive to touch for months or even years after the rash clears up.

Health experts say that up to 20 per cent of adults who have had chickenpox also get shingles. Shingles tends to occur in older people and for those with a weak immune system.

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration approved a VZV vaccine (Zostavax) for use in people 60 and older who have had chickenpox. Researchers found that giving older adults the vaccine reduced the expected number of cases of shingles by half, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Further, people who still got shingles – despite immunization – experienced reduced severity and complications.