Everything You Need to Know About the Shingles Vaccine

Posted on May 5, 2021

Have you heard of shingles disease? Shingles is a viral infection that affects the nerves. It causes a painful skin rash that's accompanied by blisters. 

Data shows that 1 in 3 people in Canada is at risk of developing shingles during their lifetime. Persons who had chickenpox have a higher risk for shingles.

Shingles is a serious disease. Persons who are at risk for shingles should get the shingles vaccine. If you're preparing to get this vaccine, you need to read this post. 

You'll find everything you need to know about the shingles vaccine cost and the procedure.  

Shingles Vaccine Cost and Options

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Shingles, or herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox, the childhood disease. It remains in the person's body after chickenpox passes and can reactivate later in life.  

Once the virus reactivates, it travels to the skin where it causes blisters. Old age, poor immune function, and having chickenpox are risk factors for the reactivation of the virus. 

The rash is the characteristic finding of shingles. It can appear on one side of the face or body. The rash contains blisters that will clear up in 2 to 4 weeks. 

Before the rash develops, pain, itching, and tingling may affect the area where the rash will appear. These warning signs will appear a few days before the rash. 

Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, and headache. Chills and an upset stomach are also common. 

This disease can lead to serious complications. It can lead to eye problems such as blindness. Other complications include encephalitis, pneumonia, and skin infections. 

In some cases, people can experience severe nerve pain after the rash has cleared. This type of pain can last months and even years after the rash passes. About 1 in 5 people may develop this symptom. 

To reduce the risk of getting shingles, those at risk should get vaccinated. Shingrix and Zostovax are the two shingles vaccines available. Getting the shingles vaccine is a must as it's the only way to protect against shingles.

Getting vaccinated against shingles may not always be possible for everyone. It takes two shots to achieve efficacy against shingles. Each Shingrix shot costs $150, for a total of $300. 

The Zostavax vaccine is given as a single dose. It costs about $200. Check with your health insurance provider to see if the cost of the vaccine is covered. 

Shingrix vs. Zostavax

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Shingrix is the shingles vaccine that contains only a part of the virus. The Zostavax vaccine contains a weakened form of the virus. This specific shingles vaccine is a live vaccine. 

Adults who are 50 or older should get two doses of the shingles vaccine in the upper arm separated by 2 to 6 months. A doctor or a pharmacist can give a person this shot in the upper arm. 

The Shingrix vaccine is for people who have had shingles already, as well as for people who aren't sure if they had chickenpox in the past. A person who had shingles should wait at least one year before getting the Shingrix vaccine. 

The Zostovax vaccine should be given to adults age 50 and older who can't get the Shingrix vaccine due to a negative reaction to the first Shingrix dose. The Zostovax vaccine can reduce the risk of getting shingles by 50%.

The Shingrix vaccine can reduce the risk of getting this disease by more than 90%. It's possible to get shingles after getting the vaccine. Those who get shingles after being immunized can expect to experience less pain. 

After getting vaccinated, a person should update their immunization record. This is also known as the yellow card. Make sure to keep it in a safe place. 

There are a group of people who shouldn't get the vaccine. Anyone who has experienced a severe allergy to any previous vaccine or part of the vaccine shouldn't get it. 

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn't get it. Women who are trying to get pregnant must wait to get it. If you believe there's a reason not to get it, speak with your primary care provider. 

How Do You Get Shingles?

Shingles is a disease that can affect anyone who has had chickenpox. There's no way of knowing who will get shingles. There are risk factors that can give people an idea if they are at risk for developing shingles. 

Advanced age is a major risk for this disease. The risk of getting it increases with age. Around half of the cases of shingles are diagnosed in adults 60 and older. 

Persons who are older than 70 have the highest risk of getting shingles. Persons who have trouble fighting infections are also at risk. An HIV infection can also put a person at risk for shingles. 

A person that has cancer of the bone marrow or lymphatic system shouldn't get this vaccine. People undergoing radiation or chemotherapy need to refrain too. 

You should know that shingles is not contagious. It can't be transmitted from one person to another. Still, precautions need to be taken. 

People who have never had chickenpox can get chickenpox from a person who has shingles. If you haven't had chickenpox or aren't sure if you had it, make sure to stay away from anyone who has shingles. 

If you have shingles, you need to stay away from others. Avoid being around people with a weak immune system. People who have a poor immune system are highly susceptible to this disease. 

There are several things that people with shingles can do to help reduce another person's risk of getting chickenpox. Cover the shingles rash as direct contact with the fluid from the rash blisters can cause chickenpox. 

Avoid touching the rash. Don't scratch it as this can make it worse, as well as help to spread chickenpox around. Do wash your hands with soap and water often. 

What Are Shingle Vaccine Side Effects?

The shingles vaccines are safe and effective, but they can cause side effects. Common side effects include headache, fever, and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are other common side effects. 

A person may experience soreness, redness, and swelling on the site where the vaccine was given. People who get the Zostavax vaccine may experience a rash and itching on the site. 

After you get the vaccine, stay at the clinic for at least 20 minutes. The staff will make sure you're good to go. They will also make sure you don't suffer a severe allergic reaction. 

A person who experiences a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine will manifest different symptoms. These include hives and swelling of various parts of the body. Shortness of breath is another symptom that can come up. 

If the staff determines a person has a severe allergic reaction, they will call 9-1-1. This type of issue is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate treatment. A person who suffers a severe allergic reaction after leaving the clinic should report it to their health care provider. 

How Do You Get the Shingles Vaccine

So here is the million-dollar question, "How do I get the shingles vaccine?" If you're looking to get this vaccine, you can start by asking your primary health care provider. A doctor or nurse practitioner can administer the shingles vaccine. 

Persons who can get the publicly funded Shingrix vaccine can get it through their doctor. People who aren't eligible for it should seek to buy it privately. If you need to buy it privately, your doctor will need to give you a prescription for it.  

Most pharmacies and travel clinics sell the shingles vaccine. If there is a doctor or nurse at the travel clinic, they will administer the shot. The staff at most pharmacies in Canada can vaccinate customers. 

It's always a good idea to contact your health insurance provider if you're not sure if it covers the cost of the shingles vaccine. The company will be more than happy to inform you if your insurance plan covers the cost of this vaccine. 

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Get the Shingles Vaccine Now

Don't take your health for granted. Shingles is a disease that can be prevented through vaccination. If you're at risk for shingles, seek to get the vaccine as soon as possible. 

The shingles vaccine cost may play a factor in deciding whether you get it or not. Don't let this discourage you from getting it.  

Contact us if you have any questions regarding our health insurance plans. We can also offer you a quote on any of our plans. 

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