Shingles Vaccine


Welcome to the shingles section of the Washington Travel Clinic website. This page contains valuable information on shingles and how to prevent it.

The shingles vaccine is available at the Washington Travel Clinic. The cost for the shingles vaccine (Zostavax®) is $240. There is no additional charge for the visit. For an easy online appointment, please click here. Also visit our Homepage for more information about the full spectrum of our services.

What is shingles:
Shingles is a painful skin rash, often with blisters. It is also called Herpes Zoster. A shingles rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and lasts from 2 to 4 weeks. Its main symptom is pain, which can be quite severe. Other symptoms of shingles can include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach. Very rarely, a shingles infection can lead to pneumonia, hearing problems, blindness, brain inflammation (encephalitis) or death. For about 1 person in 5, severe pain can continue even after the rash clears up. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia.

Shingles is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Only someone who has had a case of chickenpox – or gotten chickenpox vaccine – can get shingles. The virus stays in your body. It can reappear many years later to cause a case of shingles.

You can’t catch shingles from another person with shingles. However, a person who has never had chickenpox (or chickenpox vaccine) could get chickenpox from someone with shingles. This is not very common though. Shingles is far more common in people 50 and older than in younger people. It is also more common in people whose immune system is weakened because of a disease such as cancer, or drugs such as steroids or chemotherapy. At least 1 million people a year in the United States get shingles.

Who should get the vaccine:
A vaccine for shingles was licensed in 2006. In clinical trials, the vaccine prevented shingles in about half of people 60 years of age and older. It can also reduce the pain associated with shingles. It is indicated for people 50 years of age and older, and is given as a single dose under the skin. At this time, it is not known if additional doses will ever be needed.

A person should not get shingles vaccine who:
•has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of shingles vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.

•has a weakened immune system because of:
– HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system
– treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids
– cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy
– a history of cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.

•has active, untreated tuberculosis.

•is pregnant, or might be pregnant. Women should not become pregnant until at least three months after getting shingles vaccine.

Someone with a minor illness, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. But anyone who is moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting the vaccine. This includes anyone with a temperature of 101.3°F or higher.

What are the risks from shingles vaccine:
No serious problems have been identified with shingles vaccine. Mild side-effects include redness, soreness, swelling, or itching at the site of the injection. Like all vaccines, shingles vaccine is being closely monitored for unusual or severe problems.

Click here for more information about shingles from the CDC website.

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