There is a new shingles vaccine called Shingrix. The initial shingles vaccine was called Zostavax and was single vaccine given to patients over the age of 60. The Shingrix is a 2-dose vaccine approved by the CDC in 2017 and advised for all patients older than 50. It is important to get both vaccines within 6 months of each other. This has been a problem locally as many of the pharmacies have an inadequate supply, leaving patients at risk for not getting their second dose.
Shingles is a RECURRENCE of the same virus that caused Chicken Pox. Most people over the age of 40 have had a natural case of Chicken Pox, usually in childhood. The virus then lies dormant in the nerve roots. When or why it recurs is unclear but usually “stress” is the identified cause. A case of shingles causes UNILATERAL pain that manifests on one side only. It often begins with a searing, lacinating pain before any rash develops. The most common places for it to begin is on the head or trunk, often misleading patients to think that have the worst headache of their life or a kidney stone.
Insurance companies may not cover vaccination in patients under the age of 60, so check your benefits. If you have already gotten the Zostavax, you should still get the Shingrix. If you have had a case of shingles, still get vaccinated.