Tuesday, April 9, 2024

How Often Should Seniors Get Shingles Vaccine

Which Vaccines Do Older Adults Need

New CDC guidelines for shingles and pneumonia vaccines

As you get older, a health care provider may recommend vaccinations, also known as shots or immunizations, to help prevent certain illnesses.

Talk with a doctor or pharmacist about which of the following vaccines you need. Make sure to protect yourself as much as possible by keeping your vaccinations up to date.

Is Shingrix Available At Walmart

Those are far better results than provided by the previous vaccine, Zostavax, which was recommended for people 60 and up. CVS announced this week that Shingrix is available in its stores nationwide, making it the latest of major chain pharmacies including Walgreens, Duane Reed, Walmart and Albertsons to have it.

Vaccines Recommended For Adults Age 65 And Older

Vaccines are an important step in protecting your health and the health of your family. Vaccines are particularly important for older adults. Risks to certain diseases are higher for this age group since it can be more difficult to fight off infections as your immune system naturally weakens as you get older.

These infections, such as flu, pneumonia, shingles, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough and COVID-19, increase your risk for complications, which can lead to long-term illness and hospitalization.

There are five vaccines adults age 65 and older should consider to prevent certain diseases:

  • Influenza vaccine
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine
  • COVID-19 vaccine

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Important Facts About Shingles

The virus that causes shingles is the varicella zoster virus , which is the same one that causes chickenpox. After someone recovers from chickenpox and the rash goes away, the VZV virus still remains in the body. It stays dormant, but it is possible for it to reactivate later in a persons life, which is what causes shingles.

Immunizations Are Even More Important As We Age

How Long Does the Shingles Vaccine Last?

As we age, the immune system declines in its ability to fight off infections, which makes people ages 65 and older more vulnerable to diseases like influenza, COVID-19, pneumonia, and shingles.

People of this age group are also at a higher risk for serious complications related to these diseases compared to younger populations. The flu in a 40-year-old is very different than in an 80-year-old.

According to our experts, while a 40-year-old might be in bed for a few days nursing the flu with rest, an 80-year-old is more likely to experience more serious symptoms that could lead to hospitalization, and in the most serious and unfortunate circumstances, can even be a cause of death.

These are five important vaccines to consider if you are age 65 or older:

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Who Should Get Zostavax

People 60 years of age or older should get shingles vaccine . They should get the vaccine whether or not they recall having had chickenpox, which is caused by the same virus as shingles. Studies show that more than 99% of Americans aged 40 and older have had chickenpox, even if they dont remember getting the disease. There is no maximum age for getting shingles vaccine.

Two vaccines are licensed and recommended to prevent shingles in the U.S.. Zoster vaccine live has been in use since 2006. Recombinant zoster vaccine , has been in use since 2017 and is recommended by ACIP as the preferred shingles vaccine.

Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific length of time you must wait after having shingles before receiving shingles vaccine, but generally you should make sure the shingles rash has disappeared before getting vaccinated. The decision on when to get vaccinated should be made with your healthcare provider.

Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about shingles vaccine. Shingles vaccine is available in doctors offices and pharmacies. To find doctors offices or pharmacies near you that offer the vaccine, visit Zostavax or HealthMap Vaccine Finder.

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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Do You Need The Shingles Vaccine

rmgadminGeneral Posts, Shingles

Shingles is a painful, viral infection that causes an itchy, red rash on one side of the body, and its caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Eventually, the blisters of the rash will form scabs in around 10 days before clearing up in roughly four weeks.

While its not a life-threatening infection, if its not treated in a timely manner, it can lead to complications that cause pain long after the rash has cleared, a condition called postherpetic neuralgia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control 1 out of every 3 people will develop shingles during their lives. This equates to one million cases of shingles annually in the United States.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles.

The good news is that the pain and inconvenience of shingles can be easily avoided by being vaccinated.

However, there is often some confusion around this immunization, centering around who should receive the vaccine and how often it should be administered. Well break down important facts about shingles and the vaccine so you can be prepared to make an informed choice.

A Nasty Persistent Condition

Shingles vaccine is recommended for healthy older adults

Dr. Navjot Jain, an internal medicine specialist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, says shingles is an offshoot of the chicken pox virus.

While many people have experienced chicken pox and therefore have the dormant virus, those who experienced chicken pox before they were 18-months old are considered to be at a higher risk .

Basically, shingles is the activation of the varicella zoster virus, which causes chicken pox, Jain told Healthline. Herpes zoster, which causes the vesicular rash associated with shingles, is a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus.

Even after the initial painful rash caused by shingles dies down, the aftereffects can be even worse.

The most common thing that we see after shingles is something called postherpetic neuralgia, which is nerve pain that can last for months, typically 90 days or more, and sometimes for several years, said Jain. Its excruciating pain at the site of where the patient would have previously had the shingles rash.

The agony of postherpetic neuralgia is often enough to convince patients to get vaccinated against shingles, says Jain.

Theres also the fact that a subtype of shingles, herpes zoster ophthalmicus, occurs in about 15 percent of shingles cases. In rare cases, says Jain, this can lead to vision loss.

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How Do You Get Immunised Against Shingles

You can only get the shingles vaccine on its own, not as a combination vaccine. It is given as a needle.

Shingles vaccines include:

Note the Zostavax vaccine contains a small amount of the live virus. Some people may not be able to receive a live vaccine for medical reasons, please discuss with your doctor or immunisation provider for further information.

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.

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Vaccines To Help Prevent Pneumonia

Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection that spreads from person to person by air. It often causes pneumonia in the lungs and it can affect other parts of the body. Older adults are at higher risk than younger people of getting very sick or dying from pneumococcal disease.

The CDC recommends that all adults age 65 and older get pneumococcal vaccination. This vaccine will help protect you from getting a serious infection, including pneumonia. There are multiple forms of the pneumococcal vaccine: Talk to a health care provider to find out which is best for you. You can also visit the CDCs Pneumococcal Vaccination webpage to learn more about the types of vaccines that are available.

When To Talk With A Professional

Shingles Vaccine Urged for Older Adults

If you havent talked with a medical professional about the shingles vaccine, be sure to do so soon. You should also consult with a health professional within 72 hours after the first sign of shingles.

Remember, a band of blisters on one side of the face or torso, or on one leg or arm, suggests shingles.

Even if youre unsure whether its shingles or some other conditions causing a rash, have it checked out. A medical professional can make an initial diagnosis just by visually inspecting your skin.

A small piece of skin tissue may be removed and sent to a lab to confirm the diagnosis or determine whether its something else.

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Talk To Your Doctor About Your Immunizations

It’s important to sit down with your doctor and open the conversation about vaccinations to customize an immunization schedule that is best for you.

While the pneumonia vaccine is generally recommended for people over age 65, some younger people might need this vaccine because of a medical condition or situation or, if you have potential exposure to hepatitis A or B like health care workers, this vaccine might be recommended.

Talk to your doctor who can assess your risk for diseases and help you to determine what is best for your preventive health.

Even Healthy People Need Vaccines

Many people still think of immunizations are for children they just don’t think of getting these, or they think, “Why should I do that if I’m healthy?”

There are other barriers to getting vaccines among adults, which were outlined in an article published by The American Journal of Medicine.

This article reported that self-reported immunization rates for tetanus, influenza and pneumococcal vaccines were lower than the national guideline goal rates. Common consumer-reported barriers included:

  • Lack of physician recommendations
  • Incorrect assumptions

Surveyed health care providers suggested additional barriers facing patients include:

  • Fear of needles
  • Perceived side effects
  • Lack of insurance coverage

To increase immunization rates, it’s important to overcome these barriers, such as the widespread myth that vaccines are unsafe and commonly cause serious side effects.

Vaccines have minimal risks and are generally very safe

The risks for vaccines among people age 65 and older are the same as any population, aside from the possibility of less effectiveness with age.

Serious complications are very rare for most patients, the benefits significantly outweigh the risks involved.

The influenza vaccine is made with completely dead forms of the influenza virus, and there is no scientific way you can get the flu from the vaccine. This vaccine is generally safe for all patients over six months of age.

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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.

Does Medicare Cover Vaccines For Older Adults

What You Should Know About Shingles Vaccines | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Medicare Part B covers vaccines that protect against the flu and pneumococcal disease and the hepatitis B vaccine if youre at increased risk for hepatitis B. It also covers vaccines that you might need after an injury or coming into contact with a disease .

Medicare Part D plans generally cover more vaccines than Part B. But depending on your Medicare Part D plan, you may have out-of-pocket costs for these vaccines. Contact Medicare to find out whats covered.

Did you know? There is a high-dose flu vaccine and an adjuvanted flu vaccine, which includes an adjuvant that creates a stronger immune response. Both vaccines are designed to be more effective in older adults. Learn more about flu vaccines for adults age 65 and older .

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Who Should Get The Shingles Vaccine

The CDC recommends it for healthy adults over the age of 50, but the FDA has approved Shingrix for people 18 and older who are or who will be at increased risk of shingles due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression caused by known disease or therapy. This includes those who have already had shingles, which you can have more than once. Vaccination lowers the chances of a second round of the painful rash and of a serious outbreak and complications, Kistler says.

Thatâs why Duncan Isley, who had shingles at 45, recently got vaccinated. The outbreak he had was âfairly mildâ compared with the stories heâs heard from others. But itâs something he doesnât want to repeat.

âI had the classic torso rash and back pain. It was a very painful experience to be sure, and I still have some lingering, minor nerve sensations from time to time,â says Isley, who is now 53 and lives in Durham, NC. âI tell my close friends they should get vaccinated.â

You should also get vaccinated with Shingrix if you got an older shingles vaccine called Zostavax, which was withdrawn from the market in 2020. Zostavaxâs protection wears off with time, says Kathleen Dooling, MD, MPH, a medical officer and shingles disease expert at the CDC.

In the first year after vaccination, Zostavax prevented shingles about 60% of the time. âThat decreases in subsequent years, so that after a number of years itâs not clear that the vaccine is providing any protection,â she says.

When Should You Get Immunised Against Shingles

Anyone aged 60 years and over who wants to protect themselves against shingles can talk to their doctor about getting immunised.

Shingles immunisation is recommended for:

  • adults aged 60 years and over who have not previously received zoster vaccine
  • adults aged 70 years to 79 years, for free under the National Immunisation Program
  • adults aged 50 or over who live in the same household as someone who has a weakened immune system.

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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.

How Well Does Zostavax Work

vaccinations

Zostavax®, the shingles vaccine, reduced the risk of shingles by 51% and the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia by 67% based on a large study of more than 38,000 adults aged 60 years or older. Protection from shingles vaccine lasts about 5 years.

While the vaccine was most effective in people 60 through 69 years old, it also provides some protection for people 70 years old and older.

Adults vaccinated before age 60 years might not be protected later in life when the risk for shingles and its complications are greatest.

Read Also: Can You Get Shingles If You Have Had The Vaccine

Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Adults And Seniors

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get additional free annual influenza vaccines and pneumococcal vaccine at 50 years of age through the National Immunisation Program.

Please see your doctor for advice on what you may need.

Generally, adults wont need boosters. We recommend you talk to your doctor if you are not sure:

  • if you have had all the recommended vaccines
  • if you may need boosters
  • if someone in your care may need additional vaccines or boosters.

Please note that the National Immunisation Program does not cover adults and seniors for missed or catch-up vaccines. You can buy additional vaccines privately when you need to.

Refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age can get National Immunisation Program vaccines for free. This is if they did not receive the vaccines in childhood.

Check the National Immunisation Program schedule and talk to your doctor or immunisation provider if you have not had all the recommended childhood vaccinations.

Why Not Get The Vaccine

Shingrix is a marked improvement over its predecessor, more than 90 percent effective in preventing against the shingles virus.

Health professionals, from family doctors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , that most people over the age of 50 get vaccinated.

Yet only about a third of people over the age of 60 got the vaccination in 2016.

So whats stopping people?

One issue might be cost for people who arent sure whether their insurance will cover the immunization.

Shingrix costs about $280 for both shots and Medicare Part D, which some people 65 and over have, will cover that cost, said Carandang. But individually its best to talk to your insurance company.

Carandang also points out that even for those with a high deductible plan, some providers will still cover the cost of the shots for the sake of health maintenance.

Jain adds that more insurers are covering the cost of Shingrix, even for patients whove already been vaccinated with Zostavax, simply because the new vaccination is so much more effective.

Another reason some people may be hesitant about getting vaccinated stems from the side effects of getting these shots.

The side effects of getting the Shingrix vaccine can include muscle aches, fatigue, and headaches, said Carandang. These are common and they can happen with pretty much any vaccine.

While the pain from getting injected may be a deterrent, the potential pain that could come with a shingles infection can be worse.

Read Also: How Often Do You Get The Shingles Injection

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