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ZOSTAVAX® Availability in France Bolsters Prevention of Zoster and its Complication for Seniors in Europe

France (ots/PRNewswire)

After the United Kingdom, France is the second country in Europe

to support the zoster vaccination nationwide

Sanofi Pasteur MSD today announced the availability of the zoster vaccine Zostavax(R) across France for the prevention of zoster (shingles) and its most common related complication, chronic nerve pain (post-herpetic neuralgia or PHN). Zostavax(R) is recommended and will be reimbursed nationally in France for all adults aged 65 to 74 years. Additionally catch-up for adults aged 75 to 79 years is considered up to end of February 2017. The nationwide launch in France is a major development for zoster prevention in Europe, building on the public health commitment already seen in the UK to implement preventative health measures for the aging population.

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"The availability of Zostavax(R) in France is an important step forward in the prevention of zoster and its complication offering to a broader number of senior Europeans the chance of protection from this serious and debilitating disease," commented Jean-Paul Kress, President of Sanofi Pasteur MSD. "Sanofi Pasteur MSD is committed to preventative healthcare at all ages and the Zostavax(R) zoster vaccine is a key enabler to secure lifelong immunisation for healthier lives," Jean-Paul Kress concluded.

Vaccination is a key contributor to healthy ageing and has proven benefits in terms of decreasing morbidity and mortality and improving quality of daily life[1],[2]. The fast-growing 65+ population group in Europe represents a huge public health and economic challenge which reinforces the relevance of putting preventative measures in place to ensure healthy ageing[3].

Zoster is caused by the reactivation of the same virus which is responsible for chickenpox and that lies dormant in the nervous system after chickenpox resolution[4]. Because chickenpox is so common in Europe, around 95% of adults[5] already have the virus inside them and are therefore at risk of developing Zoster as they age. PHN, the most common complication of Zoster[6],[7], is persistent nerve pain in the area of the zoster rash, after the rash has healed. It can last weeks, months and even years[8] and PHN management is unsatisfactory and complex particularly in seniors. Similarly to shingles, the risk of developing PHN increases with age, two thirds of PHN cases occurring in adults aged 65 years and over.[8],[9]

"The healthcare community welcomes the availibility of Zostavax(R) in France" said Dr Christophe Trivalle, hospital practitioner in geriatrics at Hospital Paul Brousse (France). "Zoster is a common and debilitating disease that can affect around one in four people at some point in their life,[10],[11] with the risk of developing devastating complications such as chronic nerve pain. The inclusion of Zostavax(R) in the national immunisation calendar signals the importance of zoster prevention in the French healthcare agenda and will hopefully encourage other European countries to take a step in the same direction", Dr Christophe Trivalle concluded.

More than 27 million doses of Zostavax(R) have been distributed worldwide since 2006 and it is the only currently available preventative measure against zoster and PHN. The vaccine is licensed in Europe for the immunisation of adults over 50 years and is given as a single injection. The efficacy and safety profile shown by the vaccine in clinical trials is confirmed by nine years of real-life experience. [12],[13]

About Sanofi Pasteur MSD -

Sanofi Pasteur MSD is a European joint venture formed between Sanofi Pasteur (the vaccine division of Sanofi) and Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada). Combining innovation and expertise, Sanofi Pasteur MSD is the only European pharmaceutical company dedicated exclusively to the distribution of vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur MSD makes use of the combined expertise resulting from Sanofi Pasteur and Merck's research to focus on the development of new vaccines in Europe in order to produce the most effective, most acceptable and better tolerated vaccines.


1. The Swedish National Institute of Public Health. Healthy ageing - a challenge for Europe. R 2006:29.

Accessed 06/10/2015.

2. Maggi S. Vaccination and healthy ageing. Expert Rev Vaccines 2010;9:3-6.

3. WHO. Facts about ageing. (accessed June 2015)

4. Arvin A. Aging, immunity, and the varicella-zoster virus. N Engl J Med 2005; 352:2266-7.

5. Johnson RW, Wasner G, Saddier P, Baron R. Postherpetic neuralgia: epidemiology, Pathophysiology and management. Expert Rev Neurother. 2007;7(11):1581-95.

6. Scott FT, Leedham-Green ME, Barrett-Muir WY et al. A study of shingles and the development of postherpetic neuralgia in East London. J Med Virol. 2003; 70 Suppl 1: S24-S30.

7. Dworkin RH, Schmader KE. Chapter 5 - The Epidemiology and Natural History of Herpes Zoster and Postherpectic Neuralgia. In: Watson CPN, Gershon AA. Pain Research and Clinical Management. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Science B.V.; 2001. p. 39-64

8. Helgason S et al. Prevalence of post-herpetic neuralgia after a single episode of Herpes zoster: prospective study with long term follow-up Br Med J 2000; 321: 1-4

9. Yawn BP, Saddier P, Wollan PC, St Sauver JL, Kurland MJ, Sy LS. A population-based study of the incidence and complication rates of herpes zoster before zoster vaccine introduction. Mayo Clin Proc 2007; 82[11], 1341-1349

10. Bowsher D. The lifetime occurrence of herpes zoster and prevalence of post-herpetic neuralgia: A retrospective survey in an elderly population. Eur J Pain -1999 ;3(4):335-42

11. Miller E, Marshall R, Vurdien J. Epidemiology, outcome and control of varicella-zoster infection. Rev Med Microbiol. 1993;4:222-30

12. Tseng HF et al. Herpes zoster vaccine in older adults and the risk of subsequent Herpes zoster disease JAMA 2011;305;160-6..2.

13. Tseng HF et al. Herpes Zoster Vaccine and the Incidence of Recurrent Herpes Zoster in an Immunocompetent Elderly Population. J Infect Dis 2012; 206: 190-6.



Contact: Sylvia Martin-Jarrand, Sanofi Pasteur MSD, Tel :