A study has found that elderly patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) can reduce their chances of developing shingles by half if they receive the shingles vaccine.

This finding—from a Kaiser Permanente study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases—confounds the widely practiced procedure of not giving ESRD patients the shingles vaccine due to concerns over efficacy and adverse effects. The study also found the best protection against shingles was achieved when patients received the vaccination shortly after beginning dialysis.

RELATED: CDC’s Shingles Vaccine Recommendation Revisited

The shingles vaccine is indicated for patients aged 60 years and older, and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for patients with chronic renal failure.

The Kaiser Permanente study included 3,492 patients on chronic dialysis. Of these, 582 received the shingles vaccine and 2,910 did not. The study followed these patients from January 2007 to December 2013 and found a 50% lower rate of shingles in patients given the vaccine; the 3-year risk of shingles was 4.1% for those given the vaccine compared to 6.6% for those who were not; and that if given in the first 2 years of dialysis, shingles rates among the vaccinated was less than one-third the rate of those who were not vaccinated.

“Our study offers new real-world data to support the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation that elderly patients with chronic renal failure receive the shingles vaccine, if medically eligible,” said Hung Fu Tseng, PhD, MPH, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation, and lead author of the study.

For more information Clinical Infectious Diseases.