I am a woman (59) and I have been hearing that one out of three people get shingles. I was wondering if I should get a vaccination. Am I insured for this, if not, how much does this shot cost?
Dr. Toni Brayer has practiced Internal Medicine in San Francisco for over 20 years. She graduated Cum laude from the University of Arizona College of Medicine and she is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. Dr. Brayer has served as President of the San Francisco Medical Society and Chief of Staff at California Pacific Medical Center, and is currently the Regional Chief Medical Officer at Sutter Health, as well as the Medical Advisor for the MyLifeStages program . She is a known speaker and writer on a variety medical topics.
The medical name for "shingles" is varicella zoster. It comes from the chickenpox virus that can lay dormant for years after exposure.
As we get older it is more likely the virus will reappear and cause a painful rash that shows up along one nerve root of the body. The shingles rash is usually only on one side of the body and it can occur anywhere but is common along the back, rib area, scalp or face.
Even after the blister rash clears up the nerves can be painful for a long time. Fortunately we now have a shingles vaccine (Zostavax) that is recommended for people over age 60.
Even people who have had a case of shingles can benefit from the vaccine to prevent another outbreak. It is a one time shot that is covered by Medicare Part D and some insurance companies. If you do not have insurance that covers it, the cost can be between $200-$300.
Should I Get a Shot to Prevent Shingles?