Preventive care Your Health & Wellness

Get your shingles vaccine

If you had chicken pox as a child, you are at risk for shingles in your later years. And most people should get vaccinated against it.  It’s important for you to understand why the shingles vaccine can be so important for older adults.

The CDC recommends vaccination for all individuals over the age of sixty, unless you have a contraindication, such as a weakened immune system resulting from a chronic illness, or you are about to undergo a transplant or you have severe allergies to any component of the vaccine, such as gelatin. Without the vaccine, the same virus that gave you the chicken pox can stay in your body for decades and re-emerge as shingles.

The older you are when you get shingles, the worse it can be, so please get vaccinated. Shingles will cause you to get a painful rash that blisters and can last for weeks at a time. Other symptoms may include itching, tingling, fever and upset stomach. In some cases, shingles can affect your eyes, along with your vision.

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N.B. There are two shingles vaccines, Shingrix and Zostavax. Talk to your doctor about which one better meets your needs.

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  • My doctor told me not to bother with Zostavax, since it is not very effective (but some say “worth a try” or “better than nothing” or the like…). He later told me to get Shingrix, which is much more effective, but does seem to cost a lot more and not necessarily covered by your Medicare Part D plan, so beware. Also CVS would not honor a GoodRx discount coupon for Shingrix. On GoodRx website they quote a good price for the 2 vials needed for Shingrix (one “now” and another “later”), but CVS will not honor that price for 2 vials since they claim they can only honor coupons for one vial at a time, which offer little to no discount.

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