In Reply: We thank Dr. Shaheen for his interesting comment. He has made an important point. The data on the use of shingles vaccine in patients with a history of zoster are insufficient. The main study of shingles vaccine 1 excluded patients who had already had shingles.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says: “Persons with a reported history of zoster can [emphasis added] be vaccinated. Repeated zoster has been confirmed in immunocompetent persons soon after a previous episode. Although the precise risk for and severity of zoster as a function of time following an earlier episode are unknown, some studies suggest it may be comparable to the risk in persons without a history of zoster. Furthermore, no laboratory evaluations exist to test for the previous occurrence of zoster, and any reported diagnosis or history might be erroneous.” 2
Until more data are available for this patient population, current evidence and availability of shingles vaccine should be discussed with patients who report a history of shingles.