How To Save Money On Vaccines
If youre uninsured or having trouble paying for your vaccines, talk to your CVS pharmacist.
GoodRx offers discounts on vaccines as well as medications. You can print or show the CVS pharmacist a GoodRx coupon. For the shingles vaccine Shingrix, for example, you can save as much as 22% off the average retail price. Another GoodRx coupon can help save as much as 36% off a Tdap vaccine.
How Do You Get The Vaccine And Should You Get It
Youll have to get a prescription from your physician, pick up the vaccine, then return for the injection.
But should you consider getting it? While thats something youll need to discuss with your doctor, according to Quach, one thing is clear. The older you are, the more benefit youre going to derive from this vaccine.
Debbie Airhart will certainly be looking into the new shot, both for herself, and her parents. I would definitely consider it, she says. I wouldnt wish shingles on anybody.
Cdc Recommendation For The Shingles Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend Shingrix as the preferred vaccine to prevent shingles and other complications from the disease.
The CDC found that Shingrix was more effective than Zostavax. It recommends that you receive Shingrix, even if youve had Zostavax in the past.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.
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How Does The Shingles Vaccine Work
Shingrix is a recombinant vaccine: It is made in the lab using a protein found in the outer shell of the varicella-zoster virus. The vaccine prompts the body to produce an immune response against the virus protein. This way, the immune system will recognize and fight the virus when it reactivates in the body, preventing shingles. It does not contain a weakened form of the virus, like many vaccines do.
The largest clinical trial of the vaccine, which was done in 18 countries, found that it was 97.2% effective at preventing shingles in adults aged 50 years and older. In a later trial, completed at the same locations, vaccine efficacy was 89.8% in people 70 years of age and older.
In addition to preventing shingles from developing, the vaccine offers other benefits. The small percentage of people who got shingles after receiving the vaccine in clinical trials reported less pain than did those who got the disease and were not vaccinated. Additionally, the vaccine prevented shingles-related complications in all but one person.
You might have heard about a different shingles vaccine called Zostavax that was approved in 2006. But it is no longer available as of November 2020. Fortunately, Shingrix has higher efficacy than Zostavax.
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.
Cdc Recommends New Shingles Vaccine To Replace Older One
Shingrix is recommended over Zostavax, the existing shingles vaccine
Revaccination with Shingrix is recommended for people who have received Zostavax
A new adult vaccine has received a double thumbs-up from the American federal health system.
On the heels of the Food and Drug Administration approval of Shingrix, a new vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline for the prevention of shingles, a federal committee of immunization experts voted Wednesday to recommend Shingrix for all Americans 50 and older.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful, itchy rash that develops on one side of the body and can last for two to four weeks. One in three Americans will develop shingles in their lifetime, with the risk increasing to half of adults over 85, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the CDC on vaccine usage, also recommended that adults who received Zostavax, a shingles vaccine made by Merck, be revaccinated with Shingrix.
Additionally, the committee expressed its preference for Shingrix over Zostavax.
GlaxoSmithKline says Shingrix will be available shortly.
Zostavax was licensed and recommended by the committee in 2006 for people 60 and older, including those who have had an episode of shingles. Until now, it has been the only approved vaccine to protect against the virus.
Conditions Treated By Shingrix And Zostavax
Shingrix and Zostavax are FDA approved to prevent shingles . Both vaccines are indicated to prevent shingles in adults aged 50 years and older. Shingrix and Zostavax are not used to prevent primary varicella infection, also known as chickenpox.
Postherpetic neuralgia is a common type of nerve pain that arises with shingles. Because Shingrix and Zostavax can prevent shingles, they can also prevent postherpetic neuralgia and other painful complications from shingles. However, these vaccines are not labeled to treat PHN.
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What Can I Expect After Getting The Vaccine
Shingrix is a two-part vaccine with the second dose given 2-6 months after the first. If you miss this timeframe, then you do not have to repeat the series. The vaccine is given into the muscle, much like an influenza, pneumonia or tetanus vaccine.
Once you get the vaccine, you are more likely to experience fatigue, achy muscles, fever, shivering or upset stomach compared to the older vaccine. Approximately 11 percent of people who get the vaccine reported these flu-like symptoms and another nine percent reported mild pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the injection. These symptoms are more likely to occur after the second dose and typically resolve in a few days.
Shingrix represents a real opportunity to protect ourselves against a debilitating disease with remarkable and long-lasting effectiveness. Speak with your Methodist Physicians Clinic primary care provider about being vaccinated.
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.
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Who Should Not Get The Shingles Vaccine
Some people shouldnt get the shingles vaccine. These people include those:
- Who currently have shingles.
- Who have had a severe allergic reaction to the shingles vaccine in the past.
- Who have tested negative for immunity to the varicella-zoster virus, meaning youve never had chickenpox. If youve never had chickenpox, you should get the chickenpox vaccine.
- Who are ill. You should wait until your illness has passed before receiving the shingles vaccine.
- Who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Find Medicare Advantage Coverage For The Shingles Vaccine
Contact a licensed insurance agent today to find out if a Medicare Advantage plan is available where you live that will cover the shingles vaccine.
Find Medicare plans that cover the shingles vaccine
Or call 1-800-557-6059TTY Users: 711 to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!
1 Umansky, Diane. The New Shingles Vaccine: What You Should Know About Shingrix. . Consumer Reports. Retrieved from www.consumerreports.org/shingles-vaccine/new-shingles-vaccine-shingrix-what-you-should-know.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles Vaccination. . Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/shingrix/index.html.
About the author
Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with MedicareAdvantage.com. He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles hes written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.
Christians work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.
Christians passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.
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Medicare And The Shingles Vaccine: Are You Covered
The shingles vaccine is covered under your prescription drug benefits through Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage. However, your actual costs depend on the specifics of your plan.
You could pay less than $50 per shingles shot with a Medicare Part D plan from Aetna or Wellcare. If you dont have prescription drug coverage, the full price for two doses of the Shingrix vaccine is $324, and several cost-saving options can help you get Shingrix for less.
Find Cheap Medicare Plans in Your Area
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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Shingrix Vs Zostavax: How Do Various Shingles Vaccines Stack Up
Its important to understand what shingles is. Shingles is essentially a reactivation of chickenpox. Chickenpox is a bit of a misnomer. The pox ending refers to its blistering rash. For much of human history it was thought to be similar to smallpox . However, the two infections are entirely unrelated.
Why it was called chicken-pox is not entirely clear since the disease has nothing to do with chickens. A few theories have been put forward. One is that chicken-pox is a linguistic corruption of child-pox since the disease generally affects children. But the real reason is likely lost to history. In any case, we are better off referring to chickenpox by its scientific name of varicella.
Varicella is caused by the aptly named Varicella-zoster virus . Varicella is not a benign illness and it can be fatal, but most people survive the initial infection. However, even though the characteristic rash eventually disappears, the virus is never entirely cleared from the human body. It remains dormant in the dorsal root ganglia, a cluster of nerve cells that run parallel to the spine. Your immune system normally keeps the virus in check. But as we age, immunity can wane. By age 55, 30-40% of people have lost the specific immunity they had to the varicella-zoster virus and the virus can re-awaken.
Is Shingrix Or Zostavax More Effective
Shingrix and Zostavax have both been proven to prevent shingles. However, Shingrix is a newer vaccine that is considered more effective than Zostavax. Shingrix is even recommended for those who have already received the Zostavax vaccine in the past.
Clinical trials have shown that Shingrix is 97% effective at preventing shingles in adults aged 50 to 69 years old. Shingrix is also effective in preventing shingles in older adultsadults over the age of 70, Shingrix is 91% effective.
Zostavax has a 70% efficacy rate in preventing shingles in adults aged 50 to 69 years old, according to the Zoster Efficacy and Safety Trial . Results from the Shingles Prevention Study showed that Zostavax is 51% effective against shingles. Compared to Shingrix, the effectiveness of Zostavax decreases in older age groups. Based on the SPS results, Zostavax is 64% effective in adults aged 60 to 69 years old 41% effective in adults aged 70 to 79 years old and 18% effective in adults aged 80 years and older.
Your healthcare provider will most likely recommend Shingrix over Zostavax. Shingrix is especially recommended for immunocompromised patients since it is a non-live vaccine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about which shingles vaccine is right for you.
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Is The Shingles Vaccine Covered By Medicare And Can I Get It At Cvs
Because the shingles vaccine requires two doses, if you have to pay full price around $400 total it may approach the $445 maximum Part D deductible that Medicare allows for 2021.
If thats the case, you may want to consider getting your vaccine early in the year. This way you dont have to worry about your deductible resetting in a new plan year soon after meeting it. You should discuss the risks and benefits of this strategy with your healthcare provider.
As far as going to CVS Pharmacy or CVS in Target to get your shingles vaccine, this is definitely an option. You can always call ahead or go online to schedule same-day appointments, or go in on a walk-in basis at many locations.
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.
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Weighing The Risks Vs Benefits
The vaccine to prevent shingles will help you to avoid shingles symptoms, which in most cases are quite mild but may cause intense pain in some people.
Shingles symptoms come in two stages: the prodromal stage and the eruptive stage. In the first stage, your symptoms may include:
About three to five days later, you develop a prickly and painful pimple-like rash. These pimples turn into blisters during this eruptive stage, and your skin may be red and swollen. Shingles sores also can affect your mouth, which is another symptom the vaccine can prevent.
Shingles isn’t generally life-threatening. It can be, though, if your immune system is compromised. During an outbreak and after the rash clears up, some people may experience complications that require immediate medical attention.
Common ones include:
- Postherpetic neuralgia : Damaged nerves cause lingering pain for three months or more.
- Bacterial skin infections: When shingles blisters pop, bacteria can get in.
- Eye damage: One branch of the trigeminal nerve goes to the eye. Damage there can lead to eye damage, which can be severe.
While you may experience side effects with the vaccine, the benefits outweigh the risks of shingles symptoms and complications in most people.
If you were vaccinated with Zostavaxa shingles vaccine that is no longer being givenask your healthcare provider about getting the Shingrix vaccine.
New Shingles Vaccine Shingrix Much More Effective
This past fall, a new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, was approved by the FDA and marked the first major development in the prevention of this devastating disease in over 10 years. The excitement about this new vaccine, coupled with the fact that one in every three adults will suffer from the shingles, has generated a lot of buzz and a lot of questions among my patients here at Methodist Physicians Clinic Indian Hills.
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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.