shingles

If you have had chicken pox, the shingles virus is already in you.

You have probably already seen and heard those ads. So have I. In addition, I have watched people suffer from the inflamation, so when our internal medicine doctor asked if we wanted to get vaccinated, we both said yes. He wrote us prescriptions since doctors don’t give the vaccinations, at least not here in California. Pharmacists do.

We are both covered by Medicare which greatly simplified the process since Medicare covers the entire cost. It is possible to get a prescription at age 60, but it is very expensive and not all insurance plans cover all or even most of the cost. 

The vaccine is approved for use in people between 50 and 59, but the Center for Disease Control doesn’t recommend it for anyone under the age of 60. There are also conditions where the vaccine is not recommended at all. According to the Mayo Clinic, the shingles vaccine isn’t recommended if you:

  • Have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin or any other component of the shingles vaccine
  • Have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, lymphoma or leukemia
  • Are receiving immune system-suppressing drugs, such as steroids, adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), etanercept (Enbrel), radiation or chemotherapy
  • Have active, untreated tuberculosis
  • Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant

Since there are so many conditions that may make life in our later years less enjoyable, taking a step, one that cost us nothing but the time we had to wait at the pharmacy, seemed wise and prudent.