In the U.S., currently 1 million people get shingles every year, and about one out of every three people will get shingles in their lifetime.
Shingles is a painful localized skin rash that is caused by the varicella zoster virus(VZV) which is the same virus that causes chickenpox, anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles.
Adults 60 years old or older should talk to their health care professional about getting a one-time dose of the shingles vaccine and to make sure all vaccines are up-to-date with all recommended vaccinations.
The shingles vaccine is a safe way to protect your health
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Vaccines are tested and monitored. The shingles vaccine was licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006 and CDC and FDA continue to monitor vaccines after they are licensed.
- Vaccines are safe for most people. The shingles vaccine is safe for you unless you are pregnant, have a weakened immune system, or have allergies to certain components of the vaccine. It is safe for people taking most prescription medications to get this vaccine, but ask your health care professional if you have any questions.
Getting vaccinated against shingles and other diseases
- Talk to your health care professional at your next visit about what vaccines are right for you. If your health care professional does not offer the vaccines you need, ask for a referral so you can get the vaccines elsewhere.
- Adults can get vaccines at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, community health clinics, and health departments. To find a place to get a vaccine near you, go to https://vaccinefinder.org
- Most private health insurance plans cover recommended vaccines. Check with your insurance provider for details and for a list of vaccine providers. Medicare Part D plans cover shingles vaccine, but there may be costs to you depending on your specific plan.
All adults should have the following vaccines
- Flu vaccine every year to protect against seasonal flu
- Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis(whooping cough)
- Pneumococcal vaccines to protect against serious pneumococcal diseases if you are 65 years or older