More Common Side Effects
The more common side effects of Shingrix can include:
- pain, redness, and swelling at site of injection*
- dizziness or fainting
- flu-like symptoms, including fever, shivering, and tiredness
Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If theyre more severe or dont go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
* For more information about this side effect, see Side effect details below.
What Shingles Vaccines Are Available
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , there are 2 vaccines licensed and recommended to prevent shingles in the U.S.: Shingrix and Zostavax.2 The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get 2 doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease.3
How Well Does Shingrix Work
Two doses of Shingrix provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication of shingles.
- In adults 50 to 69 years old with healthy immune systems, Shingrix was 97% effective in preventing shingles in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective.
- In adults 50 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective in preventing PHN in adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 89% effective.
- In adults with weakened immune systems, Shingrix was between 68% and 91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on their underlying immunocompromising condition.
In people 70 years and older who had healthy immune systems, Shingrix immunity remained high throughout 7 years following vaccination.
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When Should You Get Vaccinated Against Shingles
Most people should be vaccinated against shingles at ages 50 and over. People ages 18 and over who have health conditions or take medications that can weaken the immune system should consider getting the shingles vaccine before age 50.
For people receiving the vaccine at ages 50 and over, there is no particular time and no maximum age when you should be vaccinated.
Vaccination against shingles can be done on its own or alongside other vaccinations, like for the flu or pneumonia. Generally, the vaccine is given in two doses, with the second dose given 2 to 6 months after the first dose.
For people who are receiving the shingles vaccine because of an immune deficiency, the second dose can be given sooner: 1 to 2 months after the first dose.
In this case, if possible, shingles vaccination should be timed with your immune response. This could mean waiting until after a flare-up of your condition has subsided or getting the vaccine before you receive certain immune-suppressing medications.
7 years and remains effective afterward.
Speak with a doctor about how often you should be vaccinated for shingles based on your specific immune system and health concerns.
The shingles vaccine that is currently available in the United States was introduced in 2017, so you may have questions about it. Below are answers to some of the most common questions.
How Can You Save On The Cost Of The Shingles Vaccine
These five tips can help you pay less for a shingles vaccine.
How Do You Get The Shingles Vaccine
So here is the million-dollar question, “How do I get the shingles vaccine?” If you’re looking to get this vaccine, you can start by asking your primary health care provider. A doctor or nurse practitioner can administer the shingles vaccine.
Persons who can get the publicly funded Shingrix vaccine can get it through their doctor. People who aren’t eligible for it should seek to buy it privately. If you need to buy it privately, your doctor will need to give you a prescription for it.
Most pharmacies and travel clinics sell the shingles vaccine. If there is a doctor or nurse at the travel clinic, they will administer the shot. The staff at most pharmacies in Canada can vaccinate customers.
It’s always a good idea to contact your health insurance provider if you’re not sure if it covers the cost of the shingles vaccine. The company will be more than happy to inform you if your insurance plan covers the cost of this vaccine.
How Should You Treat Shingles
Antiviral medicines like acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir have been developed to reduce the length and severity of the illness. They are most effective when started soon after the shingles rash appears. Consequently, you should call your health care provider to explore treatment options as soon as you contract or believe you have contracted shingles.
Topical or oral pain medicines may help reduce the pain caused by shingles. Wet compresses, calamine lotion, and colloidal oatmeal baths may also help relieve itching.
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Does Medicare Cover Shingles Vaccines
Most health insurance companies cover shingles vaccines, and so does Medicare. However, Original Medicare coverage wont cover the vaccines. You must be enrolled in a Medicare Part D drug plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes drug coverage in order to have prescription drug coverage that covers shingles vaccines. Medicare Part A or Medicare Part B , components of Original Medicare, wont cover shingles vaccines.
Other Medicare supplement plans, like Medigaps, dont cover shingles vaccines either.
You can enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan by itself, or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part A, B, and D coverage. Either of these options will usually cover the Shingrix vaccine.
Every Medicare Part D plan is different and copays or coinsurance may vary from plan to plan. Deductibles also may apply.
Different Medicare Part D plans classify medications and vaccinations into different tiers. What tier your plan puts shingles vaccinations into will determine your copay. The best way to determine the insurance plan thats best for you is to compare formularies to find the one that covers as many of your medications and vaccinations as possible or contact Medicare customer support.
Dosage For Shingles Prevention
Shingrix is given as two 0.5-mL injections in your upper arm. Youll receive two doses of this vaccine.
Over time, some vaccines protection begins to fade, so may you need booster doses. They help keep the vaccine working. But you dont need a booster dose after getting the two doses of Shingrix.
Shingrix dosing schedule for people ages 50 years and older
For people ages 50 years and older taking Shingrix, the second dose is given 2 to 6 months after the first dose.
Shingrix dosing schedule for people ages 18 years and older with an increased risk of shingles
For people ages 18 years and older with an increased risk of shingles who are taking Shingrix, the second dose may be given 1 to 2 months after the first dose.
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How Does The Shingles Vaccine Work
People with a weakened immune system cannot have live vaccines. They will be offered a non-live vaccine called Shingrix. It activates the immune system but also contains an ingredient called an adjuvant, which helps to boost the response to the vaccine.
Very occasionally, people develop chickenpox following shingles vaccination . Talk to a GP if this happens to you.
What Are The Benefits Of The Shingles Vaccine
The shingles vaccines are the best way to protect you from getting shingles. The vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of getting shingles by 50% for Zostavax® II, and to more than 90% for Shingrix®.
For those who still get shingles after being immunized, the vaccines can reduce pain, including the type of pain that lasts after shingles.
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How Much Does The Shingles Vaccine Cost
There are several vaccines covered by Medicare Part D, including shingles vaccines. Remember, your Medicare Part B does not cover the shingles vaccine.
However, you can find Zostavax and Shingrix on your Part D plan formulary. Check your Part D drug formulary to see which tier the vaccine falls into. Many plans put the vaccine into a Tier 3 category.
According to Clever Rx, Shingrix retails for around $155 per shot. You need two rounds of the shot when getting this shingles vaccine. Zostavax is slightly more expensive, retailing for anywhere between $212 and $240 per shot.
If you receive your vaccine before you have met your Part D plans deductible, you will be responsible for 100% of the cost. However, if you get your vaccine after having met your deductible, you will simply pay a copay or coinsurance for the shot.
If you do not have a Part D drug plan, check pricing on Cleverrx.com, where you can find coupons that may save you some money on this vaccine.
Who Should Not Get Shingrix
You should not get Shingrix if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix.
- Currently have shingles.
- Currently are pregnant. Women who are pregnant should wait to get Shingrix.
If you have a minor illness, such as a cold, you may get Shingrix. But if you have a moderate or severe illness, with or without fever, you should usually wait until you recover before getting the vaccine.
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How Do You Get Shingles
Shingles is a disease that can affect anyone who has had chickenpox. There’s no way of knowing who will get shingles. There are risk factors that can give people an idea if they are at risk for developing shingles.
Advanced age is a major risk for this disease. The risk of getting it increases with age. Around half of the cases of shingles are diagnosed in adults 60 and older.
Persons who are older than 70 have the highest risk of getting shingles. Persons who have trouble fighting infections are also at risk. An HIV infection can also put a person at risk for shingles.
A person that has cancer of the bone marrow or lymphatic system shouldn’t get this vaccine. People undergoing radiation or chemotherapy need to refrain too.
You should know that shingles is not contagious. It can’t be transmitted from one person to another. Still, precautions need to be taken.
People who have never had chickenpox can get chickenpox from a person who has shingles. If you haven’t had chickenpox or aren’t sure if you had it, make sure to stay away from anyone who has shingles.
If you have shingles, you need to stay away from others. Avoid being around people with a weak immune system. People who have a poor immune system are highly susceptible to this disease.
There are several things that people with shingles can do to help reduce another person’s risk of getting chickenpox. Cover the shingles rash as direct contact with the fluid from the rash blisters can cause chickenpox.
Is It Possible To Get Shingles Twice
Most people who get shingles only experience it one time in their lives. However, it is possible to get shingles more than once . This is known as recurrent shingles. Getting vaccinated can help minimize the chance that this will happen.
These are only a few of the many questions people may have about Shingrix. To learn more about the vaccine and shingles, individuals can consult a medical professional.
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More Information On Side Effects
Reactions listed under possible side effects or adverse events on vaccine product information sheets may not all be directly linked to the vaccine. See Vaccine side effects and adverse reactions for more information on why this is the case.
If you are concerned about any reactions that occur after vaccination, consult your doctor. In the UK you can report suspected vaccine side effects to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency through the Yellow Card Scheme . See more information on the Yellow Card scheme and monitoring of vaccine safety.
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What Is Mrna And What Is An Mrna Vaccine
Messenger RNA is a bit of genetic code that teaches the bodys immune system how to make antigens, which are proteins that prompt an immune system response.
Messenger RNA vaccines carry this code inside a fatty covering that is injected into muscle tissue. If you contract the virus later, your body will already know how to fight it.
BioNTech co-founder Ãzlem TÃ¼reci told The Atlantic that mRNA vaccines were like showing our immune system a wanted poster of a foe and instructing the immune system to target that outlaw for destruction.
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Can You Get Shingles If You Had The Chickenpox Vaccine
It depends. Anyone who has ever had chickenpox is susceptible to shingles. When the chickenpox virus comes out of hiding and reactivates, it causes numbness, tingling, blisters, and sometimes flu-like symptoms. If you never had chickenpox because you were vaccinated, you run a very low risk of getting shingles.
Can Shingrix Cause A Rash
Its unlikely that a Shingrix injection will cause a rash. But note that an injection site reaction is different from a shingles rash.
A shingles rash, which is caused by shingles itself, is often painful. It commonly appears as blisters around the torso, neck, or face.
People who received Shingrix in didnt report shingles-like rashes.
The Food and Drug Administration approves vaccines such as Shingrix to prevent certain conditions.
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Live Shingles Vaccine Vs Non
A live vaccine is one that contains a weakened form of a germ. Shingrix is not a live vaccine. Its an inactive vaccine, which is a vaccine thats made from a germ thats been killed.
Because Shingrix is inactive, more people can receive it. This includes people with a weakened immune system .
Zostavax was a shingles vaccine that was live.
People with weakened immune systems are typically advised against receiving live vaccines. This is because on very rare occasions, live vaccines can mutate back to the full-strength germ that causes a disease. If this happens, people with weakened immune systems would have a much higher risk for developing the disease that the vaccine is meant to prevent.
Pneumonia And Shingles Vaccines
Pneumonia and shingles are both serious illnesses that can lead to further complications, needing hospital care, or even death for some people. Having certain health conditions or a weakened immune system may place a person at higher risk of either contracting the infection and/or having complications compared to people who dont have these conditions. In addition, peoples chances of having complications caused by a shingles or pneumonia infection increases as they age because the immune system declines overtime.
Until recently, only adults aged 50 years or older were advised to get vaccinated against shingles and adults aged 65 years or older for pneumonia. However, the recommendations for each of these vaccines have recently been updated. Younger people who may be vulnerable to these illnesses will now have more access to protective vaccines. Young children are also at greater risk of becoming infected with pneumonia, so it is recommended that those younger than 2 years old receive the pneumonia vaccine. It is important to follow the current recommended vaccine schedule and to stay up to date with vaccines, regardless of your age.
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Know Your Shingles Risk
You can get shingles at any age if youve had chickenpox.
But older adults and those who are immunocompromised get it most often. Two-thirds of shingles cases in Canada happen to people over 50 years old. The severity of shingles and its complications also increase with age.
Age is the most important risk factor.
Shingles Vaccine Cost And Options
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox, the childhood disease. It remains in the person’s body after chickenpox passes and can reactivate later in life.
Once the virus reactivates, it travels to the skin where it causes blisters. Old age, poor immune function, and having chickenpox are risk factors for the reactivation of the virus.
The rash is the characteristic finding of shingles. It can appear on one side of the face or body. The rash contains blisters that will clear up in 2 to 4 weeks.
Before the rash develops, pain, itching, and tingling may affect the area where the rash will appear. These warning signs will appear a few days before the rash.
Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, and headache. Chills and an upset stomach are also common.
This disease can lead to serious complications. It can lead to eye problems such as blindness. Other complications include encephalitis, pneumonia, and skin infections.
In some cases, people can experience severe nerve pain after the rash has cleared. This type of pain can last months and even years after the rash passes. About 1 in 5 people may develop this symptom.
To reduce the risk of getting shingles, those at risk should get vaccinated. Shingrix and Zostovax are the two shingles vaccines available. Getting the shingles vaccine is a must as it’s the only way to protect against shingles.
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