Vaccine - Shingles - Age 50 to 59 - May Not be a Covered Service

This vaccine protects you from getting shingles and the nerve pain that can occur afterwards. It is not a covered benefit if you are under sixty.

This vaccine protects you from getting shingles and the nerve pain that can occur afterwards. It is not a covered benefit if you are under sixty.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox.

  • If you have had chickenpox, the virus can become active again years later.
  • When the virus reactivates, it can cause a rash and other symptoms associated with shingles.

One complication of shingles is chronic nerve pain at the site of the rash. The pain can persist even if the rash has healed.

  • Nerve pain after the shingles is known as postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).
  • PHN can affect the quality of a person's life.
  • Another complication is the development of scar tissue after the rash has healed.

The shingles vaccine is given to reduce the risk of developing shingles and the chronic pain that can result from this condition. It is important to remember that if you get the vaccine while you have the shingles, the vaccine will not:

  • Decrease the symptoms of shingles
  • Decrease the complications of shingles, such as chronic nerve pain

Some benefit plans may provide coverage for the shingles vaccine as “preventive” if you are age sixty or older. Please review your coverage documents and/or call the number on your health plan ID card for more information. The estimates shown reflect non-preventive coverage for age fifty-nine and younger.

The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults over the age of sixty. Although the vaccine is approved for adults over the age of fifty, it is not currently a recommended immunization for adults between the ages of fifty and fifty-nine. You should not get the vaccine if you are pregnant or have:

  • An allergy to gelatin or neomycin
  • Tuberculosis that is active or not being treated
  • Any cancers that affect the bone marrow
  • A weakened immune system

The vaccine may be postponed if you have a fever or a moderate to severe acute illness.

Medicare usually does not cover the cost of shingles vaccine.

Contact your health care provider if you are over the age of fifty and have questions about the shingles vaccine. Here is a list of questions you can ask during your appointment.

  • Do you recommend this vaccine, and why?
  • Does this vaccine need boosters, and when?
  • What are the side effects of this vaccine?
  • What are the risks if I don't get the vaccine?


Also known as:

Vaccine Shingles
Shingles Vaccine
Shingles Shot
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