If you received one dose of the Shingrix® vaccine but a shortage kept you from getting your second dose – a painful case of shingles still could be in your future.
The makers of Shingrix claim its protection is sustained at a high level for at least four years – but only if you get both doses two to six months apart. Many people rushed to get the Shingrix vaccine after it was introduced in 2017. But, shortages left some people without the crucial second dose. Supplies have rebounded, and the vaccine is now widely available.
Shingles is a painful rash that follows nerve pathways. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (which also causes chickenpox). The virus can lie dormant in the nerves for many years. People older than age 50 (or whose immune systems are compromised) have a greater risk of developing shingles.
Who should get vaccinated?
Shingrix is recommended for adults age 50 and older who have normal immune systems. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends that people previously vaccinated with the less-effective Zostavax® vaccine, be revaccinated with Shingrix – even if they have never had chickenpox. Many patients who could not take Zostavax may be able to receive Shingrix.
Because the vaccine is preventive, health plans often fully cover the cost (no out-of-pocket expense) for members who fit the CDC prescribing guidelines (age, etc.).
If you have questions or need help locating a pharmacy or clinic with the Shingrix vaccine, call the customer service number on the back of your ID card or on page 23 of Blue & You.