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How Many Shingles Shots Do I Need To Get

What Does The Shingles Vaccine Do

What You Should Know About Shingles Vaccines | Johns Hopkins Medicine

The shingles vaccine can prevent shingles. Every year, about 1 million people in the United States get shingles. Anyone whos had chickenpox can get shingles. Thats because the varicella-zoster virus lives silently in your nervous system after you’ve had chickenpox. The virus can reactivate later in your life if your immune system is weakened. Your risk of getting shingles goes up as you get older. In the United States, 1 in 3 people will get shingles in their lifetime.

Are There Any Restrictions After A Shingles Shot

You should not receive the shingles vaccine if you are pregnant, if you have an active shingles infection, or if you previously had an allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine. If youre eligible for the vaccine and receive the vaccination, there are no restrictions afterward and you can leave the doctors office or pharmacy as soon as the shot is complete.

Who Is At Risk Of Getting Shingles

If you have had chickenpox, youre at risk for developing shingles and this risk increases substantially as you age, with shingles being the most common in those who are more than 50 years old.

If your immune system is suppressed because of disease, cancer treatment, or immunosuppressive drugs, you are also at a higher risk for developing shingles.

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What Everyone Should Know About The Shingles Vaccine

Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia , the most common complication from shingles.

CDC recommends that adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease. Adults 19 years and older who have weakened immune systems because of disease or therapy should also get two doses of Shingrix, as they have a higher risk of getting shingles and related complications.

Your doctor or pharmacist can give you Shingrix as a shot in your upper arm.

Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. In adults 50 years and older who have healthy immune systems, Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Immunity stays strong for at least the first 7 years after vaccination. In adults with weakened immune systems, studies show that Shingrix is 68%-91% effective in preventing shingles, depending on the condition that affects the immune system.

Who Can Give The Vaccine

shingles

There is not much you need to do to prepare to get a shingles vaccine. You dont even necessarily need an appointment.

A doctor can schedule a time to give you the vaccine, but licensed pharmacists are also allowed to administer it. Some pharmacies offer shingles vaccines on a walk-in basis. Check with your healthcare professional or pharmacy to be sure.

Whether youve made an appointment or walked into a pharmacy for vaccination, the next steps are simple.

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Do I Really Need Another Shot Heres What You Need To Know About The Shingles Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine, called Shingrix.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. Do I really need to get another vaccine?

With everyone talking about the coronavirus and flu vaccines these days, many might overlook the necessity of the shingles vaccine, doctors say. But, if youre 50 or older, they say its time to roll up your sleeve again.

Though shingles isnt a virus thats caught’ from others it hibernates in the nerve roots of people after they have the chicken pox, and natural immunity keeps it at bay it will come out and cause painful symptoms when that immunity is reduced by age, stress or illness.

Approximately 50% of all adults will get shingles in their lifetime if not vaccinated, said Dr. Marianne La Barbera, a family physician who practices in Sunnyside. The current vaccine being offered, Shingrix, is much more effective than the previous shingles vaccine offered, the doctor said. Even people who have had the older vaccine should get the Shingrix to boost their immunity and lower their risk of getting shingles.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix , separated by two to six months, to prevent shingles and complications from the disease.

A doctor or pharmacist can administer the vaccine as a shot in the upper arm.

The downside

Obstacles To Getting Vaccinated

Despite the fact that the small, but vocal, group of individuals who oppose vaccinations remains strong, Jain says she hasnt encountered much opposition to getting vaccinated among her patients.

A lot of patients will actually come to me asking how they can get the shingles vaccination, so I actually have experienced the opposite, she said. Theres a very small percentage of patients, Id say under 10 percent, that are very averse to getting vaccinations, though.

Jain said that with these patients, their concerns often center around possible adverse effects from the vaccination, fears that theyll contract shingles by getting the vaccination, or the belief that since theyve never had the illness, they dont need the vaccine.

Another big concern that patients have is cost, Jain told Healthline in March 2018. Zostavax cost $213, and Shingrix costs about $280 out of pocket.

Prices have fluctuated slightly in 2019, with Shingrix at $185 per injection (.

She explained that even insurance or Medicare coverage doesnt solve the problem.

The issue is that Medicare Part B is not covering it, Medicare Part D is covering part of it, and Medicaid may or may not cover it it really depends on the insurer and the insurance plan, she said. So, I think cost is also a big barrier for patients as well.

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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.

What Else To Know About The Shingles Vaccine

New CDC guidelines for shingles and pneumonia vaccines

Ready to get vaccinated? This is the essential info on how the shots are given, what to expect with side effects, and more.

You need two doses of Shingrix to get full protection from shingles. You should get your second dose 2 to 6 months after the first. Your doctor or pharmacist will inject the vaccine into the muscle of your upper arm, so wear clothes that give easy access to that area.

If it has been more than 6 months since you got your first dose, go ahead and get your second dose. You donât need to start over, Dooling says.

Because Shingrix is so new, experts arenât sure whether youâll eventually need another shot, or a booster, years down the road.

âThe CDC is actively following how protected people remain after the two-dose series,â she says. We know that after 4 years, protection remains above 85%. Only time will tell how durable that protection is.â

You do not have to wait between Shingrix and COVID-19 vaccination. The CDC has determined its safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as Shingrex, but recommends they be given in different arms. You should not get eithe vaccine if you have COVID.

Side effects are fairly common. You may have heard that people sometimes have unpleasant side effects soon after they get the shingles vaccine.

âShingrix tends to have has more side effects than some vaccines, like those for the seasonal flu,â says Kistler. The shingles vaccine may cause:

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What Should You Do If You Have Shingles

These simple steps can help you reduce the severity and spread of shingles:

  • Cover the rash at all times
  • Do not touch or scratch the rash
  • Wash hands often to prevent the spread of the virus
  • Before the rash develops crusts, avoid contact with:
  • pregnant women who have never had chickenpox or been vaccinated against it
  • premature or low birth-weight infants
  • people with weakened immune systems including those receiving immunosuppressive medications or undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant recipients, and people with HIV.

A Look Back At Varicella

Even though chickenpox and shingles are caused by the same virus, the conditions have different vaccines. The chickenpox vaccine made its debut in 1995, but a shingles vaccine didnt hit the market until about a decade later. The first shingles vaccine was Zostavax in 2006. However, this vaccine was taken off the market in 2020, following the release of another vaccine, called Shingrix, in 2017. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends that anyone who received Zostavax be revaccinated with Shingrix.

Three groups of people absolutely should not receive the shingles vaccine. These are people who:

  • currently have shingles
  • previously had an allergic reaction to any components of the Shingrix vaccine

If you are pregnant or currently have shingles, its best to wait to get vaccinated until you are no longer pregnant or your shingles case clears up.

It may be difficult to know if you are allergic to any part of the vaccine, so speak with a doctor about any medication allergies you may have or previous reactions you experienced after vaccinations.

Most of the side effects of the shingles vaccine are limited and short-acting. Side effects usually appear in the first few days after your first or second dose of the vaccine and disappear within a few days.

Common side effects include things like:

  • arm soreness or pain where the vaccine was injected
  • swelling or redness at the injection site

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What To Know About The Shingles Vaccine

Who needs it? The CDC recommends that everyone 50 and older get Shingrix, even if they had the earlier recommended vaccine Zostavax, or if theyve already had a bout of shingles. Older adults should also get this vaccine, whether or not they remember having had chickenpox as a child. Why? More than 99 percent of Americans over the age of 40 have been exposed to the varicella-zoster virus, even if they dont recall getting chickenpox.

How often? The CDC recommends that older adults, as described above, get this vaccine, which is given in two doses spaced two to six months apart. The shot is more than 90 percent effective after youve had both shots.

Why you need it: One in 3 people will get painful, occasionally debilitating shingles, usually after age 50, and the risk increases with age. By age 85, half of adults will have experienced at least one outbreak.

An important note: Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, Medicare enrollees with Part D wont have any out-of-pocket costs for vaccines that the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends for adults, including the shingles vaccine, under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

A COVID connection?

A large observational study, published in the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases, makes clear how important it is for older adults to get both the COVID-19 vaccine and the shingles vaccine.

However, the researchers stress that people should not use these results as an excuse not to get COVID-19 shots.

Also of Interest

Who’s Most At Risk Of Shingles

50 best Shingles images on Pinterest

People tend to get shingles more often as they get older, especially over the age of 70. And the older you are, the worse it can be. The shingles rash can be extremely painful, such that sufferers cannot even bear the feeling of their clothes touching the affected skin.

The pain of shingles can also linger long after the rash has disappeared, even for many years. This lingering pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia .

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What Matters Most To You

Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.

Reasons to get a shingles vaccine

Reasons not to get a vaccine

I want to lower my chances of getting shingles.

I would rather take my chances without getting a vaccine.

I’m afraid of the pain that shingles can cause.

I’m not afraid of shingles pain.

Getting shots doesn’t bother me.

I don’t like getting shots.

The Biology Behind That Blistering Rash

During the initial exposure to chickenpox, some of the virus particles settle into the nerve cells around the spinal cord and brain. When the virus reactivates sometimes decades later, as a result of things like stress it travels down those nerve fibers to the skin. As the virus multiplies, the telltale rash erupts.

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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.

Great News For Us Bad News For Varicella Zoster

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William Schaffner, MD, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told Verywell the findings are great news.

I didnt think it was pretty good dataI thought it was great data. I mean, this is a spectacular vaccine, he said.

Greg Poland, MD, the director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic and the editor-in-chief of the journal Vaccine, agreed, adding the vaccine is great news for us but bad news for the virus.

Once you have chickenpox, you never get rid of it, said Poland. Its always in your body as a chronic infection.

That may not be a major concern for healthy, young people. However, Poland explained that as we get older, our immune systems start to have a harder time keeping a chronic infection in checkwhats called immunosenescence.

Given the decline in immune function with age, there have been concerns that a shingles vaccine for older people would not be successful. However, according to Poland, the fact that shingles shot can still offer protection 10 years after an older person receives it is a testament to the immunogenicity of the vaccine.

Indeed, the data show that the efficacy rate for Shingrix during the first few years after vaccination is well above 90% and is still between 80% and 90% 10 years later.

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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.

What Are The Advantages Of Getting The Shingles Vaccine

The shingles vaccine reduces your risk of getting shingles. Shingles causes a painful rash that usually develops on one side of your body or face. Some people describe the pain as an intense burning or shooting sensation. The rash is often a single strip that wraps around one side of your body or is on one side of your face. It consists of blisters that normally crust over in seven to 10 days. The rash generally clears up within a month.

Some people with shingles also experience additional symptoms including fever, headache, chills or upset stomach.

For some people, the pain from the rash can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. This long-term pain is called postherpetic neuralgia , and it is the most common complication of shingles.

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How Is Shingles Spread

You do not “catch” shingles it comes on when there’s a reawakening of chickenpox virus that’s already in your body. The virus can be reactivated because of a range of issues, including advancing age, medicine, illness or stress.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. It’s estimated that around 1 in 5 people who have had chickenpox go on to develop shingles.

Read more about the causes of shingles.

Shingles Vaccine And Insurance

How Often Do You Need To Get The Shingles Vaccine

Private health insurance plans often cover vaccination costs. Still, a patient might have a charge depending on the specific insurance plan.

Medicaid may or may not cover the vaccine cost.Medicare Part D plans cover the shingles vaccine, but there may be a cost to the patient depending on the plan. Usually, the fees are less than $50 per dose.

Medicare Part B does not cover the shingles vaccine.

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Reasons To Get The Shingles Vaccine

Once a person develops chickenpox after contracting the varicella-zoster virus, the virus never leaves the body. It remains dormant in the nerve roots and can reappear as shingles later in life.

The primary symptom of shingles is a painful rash on one side of the body, most often on the torso or face. People initially have pain or a burning sensation on the skin without a rash, and then painful blisters develop. The rash lasts approximately seven to 10 days and fully clears within two to four weeks.

The likelihood of developing shingles increases dramatically after age 50. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults age 50 and over receive two doses of Shingrix to prevent shingles. The vaccine is recommended even if a person is unsure if they have ever had chickenpox.

People with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for shingles. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration also recently approved Shingrix vaccination for adults age 18 and older who are at risk for shingles due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression caused by an underlying disease or medication.

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