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The Shingles Vaccine: How to Get One

By HERWriter
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here is how to get a shingles vaccine iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox in children, herpes zoster. Afterwards, the herpes zoster virus stays in the body but lays dormant. If it becomes reactivated from stress or an illness, a painful rash develops, typically on one side of the body or face.

There are more than a million cases of shingles each year and a great concern is that many (about 30 percent according to the New York Times) develop postherpetic neuralgias.

This causes continued pain in areas that follow the path of nerves that the virus has affected. There is no cure for this affliction and some suffer for years after an outbreak.

The vaccine, Zostavax ® (Zoster Vaccine Live), came to market in 2006 and provides for protection against shingles. It is approved by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for those aged 60 and older.

“A 2011 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the rate of shingles was 55 percent lower in the 75,761 people age 60 or older who received the vaccine, compared with those who did not.” (4)

Side effects reported from the vaccine are redness and soreness at the injection site and possible headaches. It has also been found that in those who have a shingles outbreak, despite having received the vaccination, have lessened symptoms after receiving the vaccine.

Two prominent issues of cost and availability play a role in whether and how one should get the shingles vaccine.

The vaccine costs $161 dollars a vial from Merck. This does not include the administration fee, which brings the cost closer to $200. The vaccine must be kept frozen so many doctors offices do not have the Zostavax shots available, unless they usually keep a stock of other immunizations for patients.

For those over the age of 65, only Medicare Part D reimburses for the shingles vaccine minus the co-pay.

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Just to clarify to anyone reading the above comment: Herpes Zoster is not the same as Herpes Simplex Type I or Type 2 (HSV-1, HSV-2). 

Shingles is not a sexually transmitted disease like the other type of Herpes.

May 23, 2012 - 4:53am
EmpowHER Guest

Living with Herpes is really hard, especially when you are a single. According to a report from the largest Herpes singles dating site HerpesSupport.net, 98% of its members who used to be on a general dating site to find the love and support were rejected by others. That could be the reason that why HerpesSupport.net is so popular and now has more than 650,000 members.

May 22, 2012 - 8:28pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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