Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Shingles is a painful rash that usually develops on one side of the body, often the face or torso. The rash consists of blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days and clears up within 2 to 4 weeks. Some people describe the pain as an intense burning sensation. For some people, the pain can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. This long-lasting pain is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), and it is the most common complication of shingles. Your risk of getting shingles and PHN increases as you get older.  Many are wondering about the new Shingles Vaccine. 

Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common complication from shingles. CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix®, separated by 2 to 6 months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease.

Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. Two doses of Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. Protection stays above 85% for at least the first four years after you get vaccinated. Shingrix is the preferred vaccine, over Zostavax®.

Healthy adults 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months. You should get Shingrix even if in the past you:  had shingles, received Zostavax or if you are not sure if you had chickenpox.  There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.

Most people got a sore arm with mild or moderate pain after getting Shingrix, and some also had redness and swelling where they got the shot. Some people 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.  Symptoms went away on their own in about 2 to 3 days. Side effects were more common in younger people.

You might have a reaction to the first or second dose of Shingrix, or both doses.  If you experience side effects, you may choose to take over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.  Severe allergic reactions to any vaccine are very rare

There are several ways shingles vaccine may be paid for:
Medicare Part D plans cover the shingles vaccine, but there may be a cost to you depending on your plan. There may be a copay for the vaccine, or you may need to pay in full then get reimbursed for a certain amount.
Medicare Part B does not cover the shingles vaccine.
Medicaid may or may not cover the vaccine. Contact your insurer to find out.
Private health insurance
Many private health insurance plans will cover the vaccine. Contact your insurer to find out. 
Vaccine assistance programs
Some pharmaceutical companies provide vaccines to eligible adults who cannot afford them. You may want to check with the vaccine manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, about Shingrix.

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