Shingles Vaccine | PrescribeWellness
Shingles Vaccine
Why seniors need the shingles vaccine
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Are you between 60 and 69 years of age? Have you had the shingles vaccine yet? Do you know why it's so important?
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Shingles Vaccine
According to the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition, close to one-third of Americans become infected with shingles during their life, including half of all people 85 and older. In fact, a recent study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has shown that the incidence of shingles has nearly doubled in the adult U.S. population since 1993.

Yet nearly 75 percent of seniors over age 60 have never been vaccinated. The risk of contracting shingles and developing related complications increases with age, which is greatly reduced by getting the shingles vaccine when you are in your 60s.
Causes and Complications of Shingles
Caused by the same virus (varicella zoster) as chickenpox, shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful, bumpy, blister-like skin rash on the face or body, usually on one side or the other, but can also be more widespread. Some people experience pain, itching, burning, or tingling before the rash appears. While not contagious, the virus is able to spread and cause chickenpox in others. From established research, we know that this virus never leaves the body after recovering from a childhood case of chickenpox, but lingers dormant in the nerve cells throughout life. Many decades later, this virus is reactivated as shingles—most likely due to aging-related weakened immune responses.

After the blisters scab over in about a week, an all-too-common complication of shingles is severe pain in the rash area called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). While this typically clears up within a few months, some patients continue to experience pain for several years. Rare, but more serious complications include eye issues or blindness, hearing problems, pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or even death.
Vaccine Effectiveness and Recommendations
Zostavax® has been the only FDA-approved shingles vaccine since 2006. the one-time shingles vaccination is proven to be most effective preventing the disease in people 60-69 years old, when the risk of the virus reactivating is greatest.

The CDC recommends anyone 60 years or older to get the vaccine, even if they don't remember getting chickenpox as a child—studies show that more than 99% of americans age 40 or older have had chickenpox, memory notwithstanding! While the shingles vaccine does provide some protection for some people over 70, vaccination is not recommended prior to age 60, because its effectiveness only lasts about five years.
Get Vaccinated at Your Local Community Pharmacy
Stay healthy as a senior with the shingles vaccine! If you'd like to find a friendly community pharmacy near you that offers the shingles vaccine.