Without vaccination, an estimated 1 in 3 individuals will develop herpes zoster (HZ) in their lifetime. Increased risk of HZ is attributed to impaired cell-mediated immunity, as observed in age-related immunosenescence or in individuals immunocompromised due to disease or immunosuppressive treatments. Most vaccination guidelines recommend HZ vaccination in all adults ≥ 50 years of age, although Shingrix was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in individuals aged ≥ 18 years who are or will be at increased risk of HZ due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression caused by known disease or therapy, followed by approval by the European Medicines Agency for use in immunocompromised individuals aged ≥ 18 years. Chronic respiratory diseases are also risk factors for HZ. A new meta-analysis reported 24% and 41% increased risks of HZ in those with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), respectively, compared with healthy controls. Asthma and COPD increase a person’s risk of HZ and associated complications at any age and may be further elevated in those receiving inhaled corticosteroids. Despite the increased risks, there is evidence that HZ vaccination uptake in those aged ≥ 50 years with COPD may be lower compared with the age-matched general population, potentially indicating a lack of awareness of HZ risk factors among clinicians and patients. The 2022 Global Initiative for Chronic Lung Disease report recognizes that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended to vaccinate those aged ≥ 50 years against HZ, although health systems should consider the inclusion of all adults with asthma or COPD into their HZ vaccination programs. Further research into HZ vaccine efficacy/effectiveness and safety in younger populations is needed to inform vaccination guidelines.
© 2023. The Author(s).