If Youre 50 Or Older Get Shingrix
- Shingrix provides strong protection from shingles and long-term nerve pain.
- Get Shingrix even if you already had shingles, because you can get the disease more than once.
- Your risk of shingles and complications increases as you age.
- You need 2 doses of Shingrix. Get the second dose 2 to 6 months after you get the first dose.
Why Is This New Vaccine More Effective
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Lynora Saxinger says after reading preliminary papers on the Shingrix vaccine, she was very impressed.
“It genuinely is a big step up in vaccinating against varicella-zoster virus . It has much higher rates of protection that seems to not matter how old you are,” Saxinger tells The Current‘s Anna Maria Tremonti.
That is not the case with the older shingles vaccine Zostavax, she argues. While it is decent at reducing risk, it would depend on age on how well a patient would be protected. The vaccine does not respond well to an older immune system, says Dr. Saxinger, highlighting this as a real problem given the elderly are at a higher risk of contracting shingles.
“This actually kind of gives the 80-year-old the immune system of a 20-year-old,” says Dr. Saxinger.
“It seems to provide potentially long-lasting immunity, at least so far it doesn’t seem to decline over the first few years the way the other vaccine did.”
Know The Benefits And The Side Effects
Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and long-term nerve pain. You may experience some short-term side effects because Shingrix causes a strong response in your immune system.
After getting Shingrix:
- Most people had a sore arm.
- Many people had redness and swelling where they got the shot .
- Many felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea.
About 1 out of 6 people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities like yardwork or swimming. Side effects usually go away after 2 to 3 days. Remember that the pain from shingles can last a lifetime, and these side effects should only last a few days.
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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.
Where Can I Get My Immunizations
Vaccines may be available at pharmacies, private medical offices, workplaces, community health clinics, health departments, or other community locations, such as schools and religious centers. Ask your primary healthcare provider for a referral if they do not stock all the recommended vaccines.
Federally funded health centers can provide services if you don’t have health insurance or a regular source of healthcare. You pay what you can afford based on your income. Find a health center near you.
There is also an online vaccine finder tool to learn more about where to get vaccines in your community. Simply type in your ZIP code for a list of nearby locations.
If you want help over the phone, call the Help Me Grow WA Hotline toll free at 1-800-322-2588. You will talk with a friendly, local and informed representative who can help you find a place to get vaccinations.
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Concerned About Shingles Free Vaccine Available
The shingles vaccine is available to adults age 50 years and older. This vaccine is covered by Ontario Health Insurance Plan only for those aged 65-70 years old. For other age groups, there is a cost which may be covered by your insurance benefit plan.
Shingles or herpes zoster is caused by the virus that causes chickenpox. Once a person has had chickenpox, the virus stays in the nerve cells of the body. The virus may be there for many years and not cause any problems. Sometimes, for unknown reasons, it becomes active again and causes shingles. Shingles causes a painful, blistering skin rash.
Not everyone who has had chickenpox will develop shingles it occurs most frequently in adults over age 50 and in people with a weakened immune system. Zostavax is available from your health care provider or you can book into one of our immunization clinics held twice a month. Only 1 dose is needed for protection.
Note: A newly released zoster vaccine, Shingrix is currently not available at the CK Public Health.
Recommended Vaccine For Adults 65 And Over
Flu vaccines There are special kinds of flu vaccines for people aged 65 and older that are different than regular flu shots. High-dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines give a stronger immune response than regular flu shots. This means better protection against flu illness. Adults 65 and older may get a regular flu vaccine, the high-dose, or the adjuvanted vaccine. Your doctor or pharmacist will help you understand which flu shot is right for you. Get your flu vaccine every year as soon as vaccine is available, usually in late summer or early fall.
Here is more information about flu and flu shots:
Pneumococcal vaccines There are two pneumococcal vaccines. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out which of these vaccines are right for you.
- Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. You should get this vaccine if you’re 65 or older, or younger than 65 and smoke, have asthma, or other certain medical conditions. You may need booster doses if you have a high risk medical condition.
- If you have a condition that weakens the immune system or if you have certain medical conditions, you should get the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine . This vaccine protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Adults 65 years and older with a healthy immune system should discuss with their healthcare provider the need to get PCV13.
Tdap or Td vaccines
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Who Should Get Shingrix
Adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. Adults 19 years and older who have or will have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix. If needed, people with weakened immune systems can get the second dose 1 to 2 months after the first.
You should get Shingrix even if in the past you:
- Received varicella vaccine
There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.
If you had shingles in the past, Shingrix can help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time that you need to wait after having shingles before you can receive Shingrix, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has gone away before getting vaccinated.
Chickenpox and shingles are related because they are caused by the same virus . After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles.
Shingrix is available in doctors offices and pharmacies.
If you have questions about Shingrix, talk with your healthcare provider.
* A shingles vaccine called zoster vaccine live is no longer available for use in the United States, as of November 18, 2020. If you had Zostavax in the past, you should still get Shingrix. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get Shingrix.
Government Funding Of A Vaccine Is Complicated
It’s no surprise to microbiologist Dr. Allison McGeer that the Shingrix vaccine not being covered because it’s a process that involves many variables.
“There’s a whole lot of complicated logistical planning that goes into how a government would decide to fund and deliver a vaccine it feels like something really simple but it’s actually not,” Dr. McGeer says.
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Flu Vaccine For Older Adults
Flu short for influenza is a virus that can cause fever, chills, sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, and muscle aches. Flu is very serious when it gets in your lungs. Older adults are at a higher risk for developing serious complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.
The flu is easy to pass from person to person. The virus also changes over time, which means you can get it again. To ensure flu vaccines remain effective, the vaccine is updated every year.
Everyone age 6 months and older should get an annual flu vaccine, but the protection from a flu vaccine can lessen with time, especially in older adults. Still, you are less likely to become seriously ill or hospitalized with the flu if you get the vaccine. A flu vaccine is especially important if you have a chronic health condition such as heart disease or diabetes.
Ideally, you should get your vaccine by the end of October each year so you are protected when the flu season starts. It takes at least two weeks for the vaccine to be effective. However, if you have not received your flu vaccine by the end of October, its not too late flu season typically peaks in December or January. As long as the flu virus is spreading, getting vaccinated will help protect you.
Are There Any Common Reactions To The Vaccines
After an injection, you may get a sore arm or mild fever for a day or two. About one in every 100,000 combined tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough vaccinations may result in damage to the nerves of the arm.
Very rarely about one in a million times, a person might experience a serious allergic reaction shortly after vaccination. You will be asked to wait for 20 minutes after your vaccine is given. This is to make sure that medical treatment is available if a serious allergic reaction occurs.
There is no evidence for other serious risks.
Contact your doctor, practice nurse or vaccinating pharmacist if you experience any unusual or severe symptoms after immunisation.
Receiving all three vaccines on the same day is as safe and effective as receiving them separately.
Its safe to receive all three vaccines on the same day.
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Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover The Shingles Vaccine As Free For All Seniors
Many people think that a vaccine that’s recommended by the CDC for those over age 50 would be fully covered by Original Medicare. However, there are a few reasons why you may end up paying hundreds of dollars for the two-dose regimen.
- Medicare coverage levels: Some Medicare drug plans have better cost-sharing benefits than others, and how much you pay for the shingles vaccine depends on the plan you choose.
- Pharmaceutical classification: Medicare classifies the Shingrix vaccine as a part of its pharmaceutical coverage, meaning it would fall under Medicare Part D coverage rather than Part A or Part B. In contrast, most private health insurance, either through an employer or through the marketplace, classifies the shingles vaccine as a part of its free preventative coverage.
- Type of pharmaceutical: Shingrix is a Tier 3 drug made by GlaxoSmithKline, and there isn’t a generic alternative. This could mean that your out-of-pocket costs are higher than for other medications.
Know Your Risk Of Getting Shingles And Complications
About 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles during their lifetime.
If youve had chickenpox, you are at risk for shingles. More than 99% of Americans born before 1980 have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember it.
Your risk of getting shingles and having serious complications increases as you get older.
About 1 in 10 people who get shingles develop nerve pain that lasts for months or years after the rash goes away. This is called postherpetic neuralgia and is the most common complication of shingles.
Shingles may lead to other serious complications involving the eye, including blindness. Very rarely, it can also lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, brain inflammation or death.
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Tetanus Diphtheria And Pertussis Vaccines
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are diseases caused by bacteria that can lead to serious illness and death.
- Tetanus is caused by bacteria found in soil, dust, and manure. It can enter the body through a deep cut or burn.
- Diphtheria is a serious illness that can affect the tonsils, throat, nose, or skin. It can spread from person to person.
- Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, causes uncontrollable, violent coughing fits that make it hard to breathe. It can spread from person to person.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Most people get vaccinated as children, but you also need booster shots as you get older to stay protected against these diseases. The CDC recommends that adults get a Tdap or Td booster shot every 10 years. Ask a health care provider when you need your booster shot.
How Effective Are The Vaccines
Immunisation significantly reduces the chance that you will catch these diseases, but does not provide total protection against any disease, including influenza and shingles.
Immunisation is strongly recommended by health professionals as it may still reduce the severity of the disease.
Although the effectiveness of immunisation reduces as we get older , immunisation is still one of the best ways to help protect against several serious diseases.
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How Long Does Protection Last
We know that for most people, the shingles vaccine protects for at least four years however, we expect that protection will last much longer. At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t recommend patients receive any booster dose after the first two doses of the shingles vaccine.
How Can I Get A Shingles Vaccine
While most people get their shingles shots at a pharmacy, some receive it at their doctors office. At one time, some states required a prescription to get the shingles vaccine at a pharmacy, but those states have recently changed their rules. Now you dont need a prescription to get the shingles vaccine.
At a pharmacy. Pharmacists in all states can administer vaccines included on the CDC-recommended adult immunization schedule, including the shingles vaccine. Make sure your pharmacy is in your Part D plans network so it can bill your plan directly. Check with your pharmacy and insurance plan for details.
At a doctors office. Its a good idea to confirm your doctor can bill Medicare Part D before you plan to get the vaccine there. Otherwise, you may need to pay for the vaccine and submit a claim for reimbursement to your Part D plan. Ask the doctors office and your plan about the rules.
Keep in mind
If you have trouble affording Part D prescription drug coverage, you may qualify for the Extra Help program, a government program that helps people with limited income and assets pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs for Part D drug coverage. Starting in 2024, the Inflation Reduction Act also expands the level of income eligibility for the Extra Help program.
Update October 11, 2022
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Free Shingles Vaccine Program Now Available To Islanders Aged 60 And Over
Today, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced they are dropping the age of eligibility for the free shingles vaccine from 65 to 60 years of age starting immediately.
Lowering the age eligibility for the shingles vaccine program from 65 to age 60 will ensure that we can help prevent more seniors from suffering with this painful condition. Shingrix provides an important layer of protection for the health of our Island seniors.
– Health and Wellness Minister Ernie Hudson
Islanders aged 60 and over can book their free Shingrix Vaccine to prevent shingles at community pharmacies across the Island. For the best protection, two doses are required, given between two and six months apart. The cost of the vaccine is covered by the provincial government.
Vaccine appointments can be booked directly by contacting a community pharmacy by phone or through online booking on their website.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization and PEIs Chief Public Health Office recommend Shingrix as the preferred vaccine for adults in preventing shingles disease. Since the launch of this program on February 16th, 2022 there has been 16,360 doses of Shingrix Vaccine distributed to pharmacists administering the vaccine across the province.
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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Vaccine Effectiveness And Safety
The vaccine reduces your chance of getting the virus by more than 50%, depending on your age. Vaccine effectiveness is higher among seniors between 65 and 70 years old.
No vaccine is 100% effective. If you get vaccinated, you may still develop shingles. But the infection would likely be less severe and youd be better protected from complications.
The vaccine has been licenced by Health Canada, having met all requirements under the Food and Drugs Act.
Does Medicare Cover The Shingles Vaccine In 2022
En español | No and yes. Medicares Part A and Part B dont cover shingles vaccinations, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 50 and older get the vaccine. Medicare Part B covers some other vaccines as free preventive care, such as the flu and pneumonia vaccines.
With that said, Medicare Part D covers the shingles vaccine, as do private Medicare Advantage plans that include drug coverage. These plans must cover all commercially available vaccines needed to prevent illness, except for those that Part B covers.
In the United States, about 1 in every 3 people are at risk for shingles or herpes zoster, the same virus strain that causes chicken pox. If youve had chicken pox, the virus stays dormant in your system and may reappear as shingles later in life, which is why the vaccine is recommended.
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