August 15, 2022

Why seniors should get the shingles vaccine

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 million people get shingles in the U.S. each year. The risk of developing shingles increases in older adults, causing long-term damage and more severe pain. Luckily, there is a vaccine that will help protect against shingles. The CDC recommends adults aged 50 and older and adults over the age of 19 with weakened immune systems to get the vaccine to prevent shingles and complications from the disease.

To help you make this decision, we wanted to share more information about shingles and the vaccine:

What are shingles?

Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox before, the virus stays in your body and can cause shingles later in life. Shingles is a painful skin rash with blisters and can cause fever, headache, chills, or upset stomach. Shingles can lead to complications like pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitis), or death.

How the shingles vaccine works

The shingles vaccine provides strong protection to the virus. It is given in a two-dose series, with the second dose given 2 to 6 months after the first virus. If you have had shingles, the chickenpox vaccine, or another type of shingles vaccine, it is recommended to get the recombinant shingles vaccine (SHINGRIX).

How to get the shingles vaccine

You can make an appointment for the shingles vaccine with your doctor or at a local pharmacy. To cover the cost of the shingles vaccine, check with your medical insurance provider or connect with the vaccine manufacturer if you cannot afford the vaccine.

When not to get the shingles vaccine

If you have had any allergic reaction after a previous dose of recombinant shingles vaccine, or any severe life-threatening allergies, or are currently experiencing an episode of shingles, consult with your healthcare provider. You can get the shingles vaccine if you have a slight cold. If you are moderately to severely ill, you should wait until you fully recover to get the shingles vaccine.

Symptoms after the vaccine

Once you have received a dose of the vaccine, it is common to experience a sore arm with mild to moderate pain and redness or swelling at the site of the injection. You may also experience common symptoms of tiredness, muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea. These symptoms usually go away in 2 to 3 days. If you experience hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness, see the doctor right away as you may be experiencing an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions are extremely rare (out of 1 million doses, only one to two people may experience an allergic reaction).

Kline Galland’s Senior Care Resource Line at 206-723-INFO (4636) is here to address your questions and concerns. Help is only a phone call away.

Please note, the information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice should consult with a licensed physician. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider regarding a medical condition.