Health departments offer shingles vaccine - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Health departments offer shingles vaccine

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The Health Department is urging people 60 and older to get the shingles vaccine.

Shingles is a painful rash caused when inactive chickenpox virus awakens in the body of someone who once had the disease.

The older the person is, the more sever the effects of shingles usually are, which is why the vaccine is only recommended to people over 60.

Complications with shingles can include hearing or vision loss, muscle weakness, and long term nerve pain.  

"I have known of a case of shingles that was so sever, the individual was out of work for 6 months, just due to the nerve pain, they were just unable to work," said Immunization Coordinator Suzette Profit.

If you have a weakened immune system or allergies to gelatine or the antibiotic neomycin, you should not get the shingles vaccine.

 Here is more information from the Southwest Public Health District

 A vaccine recommended for people 60 and older to prevent shingles is now available at Southwest District's 14 county health departments.

"The older a person is, the more severe the effects of shingles typically are," Southwest Health District Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant said. "The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend adults 60 years and older get vaccinated against shingles. There is no maximum age for getting the shingles vaccination."

A single dose of Zostavax® vaccine provides protection against shingles, a painful rash caused when inactive chickenpox virus awakens in the body of someone who once had the disease.

Complications can include hearing or vision loss, scarring, muscle weakness, partial paralysis and long-term nerve pain.

The most common side effects of Zostavax® include redness, soreness, swelling or itching at the shot site, and headache. There is no documentation of a person getting chickenpox from someone who has received the shingles vaccine, which contains the varicella zoster virus.

Call the Health Department to discuss Medicare Part D reimbursement, since the amount of cost-sharing for the vaccine varies. Other payment options, including Medicaid and some private insurance, are also available.

For more information about the shingles vaccine, contact your local county health department or go to www.cdc.gov.