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The Westport Weston Health District is now offering the new Shingles vaccine, known as ShingRix, to all eligible persons. The vaccine is recommended for healthy persons fifty years and older to help prevent shingles and its related complications. Individuals should be vaccinated  even if a person had shingles in the past, received the older shingles vaccine, Zostavax, or are unsure of chickenpox history.

Director of Health Mark Cooper stated that “If  you have ever had the chicken pox as a child, there is a good chance the virus is still in your body where it can lie dormant for decades. In some people it resurfaces as shingles as we get older.”  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as herpes zoster, in their lifetime. The shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and post herpetic neuralgia (PHN).”

Shingles is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus , the same virus that causes chickenpox.  The virus stays dormant in our nervous system but can reactivate with advancing age, when a person is immunocompromised due to certain diseases, or is receiving treatments such as chemotherapy. The painful, itchy rash typically develops on one side of the body and can last for several weeks. Even after the rash is gone, a person can experience a burning, shooting pain that can last for three months up to several years.

The new shingles vaccine has shown to be 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN following two doses given 2 to 6 months apart, and protection stays at 85% for at least four years post vaccination.

The cost of the vaccine is $190 per dose for those 50 to 64 years of age.  Medicare Part D plans cover the shingles vaccine but there may be a cost (co-pay) to you depending on your plan.

To schedule an appointment or find out more information, contact Loren Pace, RN at (203) 227-9571 X231