Is There Anyone Who Should Not Have The Shingles Vaccination
There are 2 shingles vaccines available in the UK:
- Zostavax, a live vaccine given as 1 dose
- Shingrix, a non-live vaccine given as 2 doses
If Zostavax is not suitable for you, a GP or practice nurse will decide whether to offer you Shingrix instead.
You should not have the shingles vaccine if you’ve had a serious allergic reaction in the past to a previous dose of the shingles vaccine, or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine, or to a previous dose of varicella vaccine.
If you have a weakened immune system a GP or practice nurse will assess which vaccine is suitable for you. Discuss any health concerns with the GP or practice nurse before you have the vaccine.
Zostavax is not suitable for people who have a weakened immune system due to a condition, treatment or medicine.
What Is Shingles And How Do You Catch It
Shingles is a painful skin rash that forms on one side of the body. It is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus. Shingles can affect people who have had chickenpox, even if they had the illness long ago.
Once youve had chickenpox, the virus becomes inactive in the body and can reactivate years later. The virus can remain inactive in your nerve roots for many years, and then wake up and travel down the path of a sensory nerve to the skincausing shingles. You may develop shingles more than once in your lifetime.
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What Steps Can You Take To Make Sure You Are Covered If You Have Medicare Advantage With Drug Coverage Or Medicare Part D
If you already have Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part D, contact your provider to check your coverage. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private companies that Medicare approves.
If you are not yet on Medicare and want to find a plan that covers the shingles shot, you can use Medicares Find a Medicare Plan tool. This tool allows you to compare Medicare Advantage and Part D plans.
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Key Points To Remember
- Shingles can be very painful.
- Adults ages 50 and older and adults 19 and older who have a weakened immune system can get the vaccine. You need two doses, whether or not you’ve had shingles before.
- The vaccine greatly lowers your chances of getting shingles. If you get shingles anyway, you are less likely to have the long-term pain that can occur after shingles than if you hadn’t had the vaccine.
- If you’ve already had shingles, you are not likely to get it again. But some people do.
Why Is The Shingles Vaccine Important
Shingles causes a painful rash and blisters and it can lead to serious complications. The most common complication is post-herpetic neuralgia , a condition that causes burning pain that can last long after the shingles rash and blisters go away. The older you are when you get shingles, the more likely you are to develop PHN.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent shingles and PHN.
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the chickenpox virus stays dormant in your body. The virus can activate years later and cause shingles.
Symptoms of shingles include:
Shingles cant spread from person to person like chickenpox. But if you have shingles, you can spread the virus to someone who isnt immune to chickenpox meaning someone who hasnt had chickenpox and isnt vaccinated against it. If that happened, the person might get chickenpox but not shingles. Learn more about shingles.
- Adults age 50 and older
- Adults 19 years and older who have a weakened immune system because of disease or treatments
You need to get 2 doses of Shingrix. Youll need the second dose 2 to 6 months after the first dose. You need to get Shingrix even if you:
- Have already had shingles
- Have been vaccinated against shingles with Zostavax
- Are not sure if youve had chickenpox
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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.
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.
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Who Is A Candidate For The Shingles Vaccine
Adults 50 years and older. Immunocompetent adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, 2 to 6 months apart.
Adults 19 years and older with weakened immunity. Immunity could be reduced by diseases like HIV, leukemia, or lymphoma. The immunosuppressive medicines given with organ transplants, and chemotherapy for cancer, also weaken immunity. The vaccine is safe and effective in people with multiple myeloma and other blood cancers, solid organ cancer, people with HIV, and renal transplant recipients.
People who have had shingles. Unlike chickenpox, shingles can happen again. The shingles vaccine works well if you’ve had shingles before. You will have stronger immunity against further attacks of shingles.
People who took Zostavax. This shingles vaccine is no longer in use in the US. People who took it should take two doses of RZV.
Do your age or health situation make you eligible for the vaccine? Weighing the benefits and potential dangers will let you make the best decision for yourself.
Does Medicare Cover Shingles Vaccines In 2022
Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus . It produces a painful rash with fluid-filled blisters and typically shows up on one side of the body. The same virus that causes chickenpox causes shingles. Anyone who has had chickenpox in the past is at risk of getting shingles.
Shingles is a painful rash that occurs along the distribution of a nerve, called a dermatome, says Erum N. Ilyas, MD, a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and founder of AmberNoon. The virus lays dormant in the nervous system. Immunity likely plays a role in preventing the virus from reactivating. When immunity is low, the virus replicates and spreads down the nerve causing pain, inflammation, and blistering.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults older than 50 get the shingles vaccine. Shingles can cause long-term nerve pain and nerve damage. Getting two shingles vaccine doses two to six months apart has proven to be very effective at preventing shingles.
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How Much Does The Shingles Vaccine Cost With Medicare
Most people who are enrolled in Medicare Part D pay less than $50 per dose for Shingrix, according to the vaccine’s manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline. However, your costs will vary based on the plan’s details and if you’ve already met your deductible amount by purchasing other prescription drugs.
For example, some seniors can get the shingles vaccine for free because it’s fully covered by their Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan. Others may have to pay a portion of the cost, such as a $50 copay per shot, or pay full price if the deductible hasn’t been met.
If you don’t have a prescription drug plan or you haven’t met your plan’s deductible, the retail cost for the shingles vaccine is $162 per shot. For the two-dose sequence, the total cost is $324. If the full price of the shingles vaccine is out of your budget, there are several ways you can save money on the vaccine.
Who Should Get Shingles Vaccine
Shingrix is a recommended vaccine for all adults age 50 years and older. In addition, everyone 19 years and older who have a weak immune system are now recommended to get Shingrix. Please talk with your primary care provider to see if you are eligible to get Shingrix. You can get this vaccine even if you have had shingles, previously received varicella vaccine or if you don’t know if you have had chickenpox in the past.
You can get a shingles vaccine if you have a minor illness, such as a cold. But if you are severely ill or have a temperature above 101.3 degrees, wait until you recover before getting shingles vaccine.
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How Many Doses Of The Vaccine Do I Need
In most cases, the shingles vaccine is given as one dose.
If you have a severely weakened immune system you will be offered a second dose of the vaccine at least 8 weeks after your first dose.
Speak to a healthcare professional about getting other vaccines at the same time so they can advise what’s best for your individual circumstances.
You should ideally wait seven days between the coronavirus vaccination and shingles vaccination.
What Are The Possible Reactions After The Vaccine
The shingles vaccines are very safe. Common reactions to the vaccines include headache as well as soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given. Itching and a rash may also occur after getting ZostavaxÂ® II. Other reactions that may occur after getting ShingrixÂ® include fever, muscle soreness, fatigue, shivering, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because there is an extremely rare possibility, less than 1 in a million, of a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. Should this reaction occur, your health care provider is prepared to treat it. Emergency treatment includes administration of epinephrine and transfer by ambulance to the nearest emergency department. If symptoms develop after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
It is important to always report serious or unexpected reactions to your health care provider.
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How Well Does The Vaccine Work
The vaccine lowers your chances of getting shingles.
If you get the vaccine and still get shingles, you are likely to have much less pain and for a much shorter time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of the shingles vaccine for adults ages 50 and older and for adults 19 and older who have a weakened immune system.footnote 1
- Redness, swelling, or soreness at the spot where the needle went in.
- A high fever or serious allergic reaction .
Getting the vaccine has some risks. For example:
- You might get shingles anyway. But it probably won’t be as painful or last as long.
- You may need another vaccine later in life.
You shouldn’t get the vaccine if:
- You are ill with more than a mild cold or you have had an allergic reaction to the first dose.
- You have a test that says you have never had chickenpox.
- You have shingles.
- You are age 50 or older.
- You are 19 or older and have a weakened immune system.
- You have had shingles before.
- You have a chronic condition, such as chronic kidney failure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or COPD.
- You live in a nursing home or other long-term care facility.
- The vaccine can lower your chances of getting shingles.
- If you get the vaccine and still get shingles, you are likely to have less pain for a shorter time.
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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/shingles-vaccination-for-adults-aged-70-or-79-years-of-age-a5-leaflet/vaccination-against-shingles-guide
There is a vaccine that helps reduce your risk of getting shingles and reduces the severity of symptoms if you develop the disease.
Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox. Anyone can develop shingles because most people have had chickenpox .
This guide describes shingles, the Zostavax vaccine and the benefits of the vaccination and who is eligible for the vaccine this year. If you have problems with your immune system and cannot have the live Zostavax vaccine you may be eligible for 2 doses of the Shingrix vaccine.
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When Should I See A Doctor Because Of The Side Effects I Experience From Shingrix
Shingrix causes a strong response in your immune system, so it may produce short-term side effects. These side effects can be uncomfortable, but they are expected and usually go away on their own in 2 or 3 days. You may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Contact your healthcare provider if the symptoms are not improving or if they are getting worse.
In clinical trials, Shingrix was not associated with serious adverse events. In fact, serious side effects from vaccines are extremely rare. For example, for every 1 million doses of a vaccine given, only one or two people might have a severe allergic reaction. Signs of an allergic reaction happen within minutes or hours after vaccination and include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness. If you experience these or any other life-threatening symptoms, see a doctor right away.
Whos Most At Risk Of Shingles
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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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.
Personal Stories About Considering A Shingles Vaccine
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
I talked to my doctor about the shingles vaccine and I think I’m going to get it. My wife had shingles 2 years ago, and she was really in a lot of pain. If I can avoid that by getting a vaccine, it will really be worth it to me.
I’m not going to get a vaccine, at least not right now. I don’t like to take medicines of any kind if I don’t have to.
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How Can I Get The Shingles Vaccine
You can buy the shingles vaccine at most pharmacies and travel clinics. ShingrixÂ® is given as a series of 2 doses, 2 to 6 months apart, and costs about $150/dose. ZostavaxÂ® II is given as 1 dose and costs about $200. Some health insurance plans may cover the cost of the vaccine check with your provider.
If you buy the vaccine at a travel clinic, a doctor or nurse on site will be able to immunize you. Most pharmacists in B.C. are also able to immunize.
If you want to be immunized by your doctor, find out if they have a supply of the shingles vaccine.
Why You Shouldn’t Get The Shingles Vaccine
- Medical Reviewer: Dany Paul Baby, MD
Medically Reviewed on 5/24/2022
Shingles is a disease that usually presents with a painful rash that affects one in three people in their lifetime. It is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox the herpes virus varicella-zoster. More than 99% of people born before 1980 have had chickenpox and have this virus dormant in the brain or spinal cord.
Shingles activates when your immunity is low, usually with advancing age. The currently used recombinant zoster vaccine is safe and effective. But not everyone who is a candidate for the shingles vaccine should take it. Like all vaccines, the shingles vaccine has benefits and harms. You should know about both and make an informed decision about taking it.
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