The Trumbull Monroe Health District (TMHD) has a supply of the shingles vaccine, Zostavax, available for residents 60 years of age and older. The cost of the vaccine is $187. Methods of payment include cash or check. Medicare does not currently cover the cost of the vaccine. Medicare Part D may partially cover the costs. Check with your provider prior to scheduling an appointment. A note from your physician is not necessary. Receipts will be provided.

Shingles, also called Herpes Zoster, is a viral infection of the nerve roots. It is a painful rash, often with blisters. The rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and last two to four weeks. The rash appears in a band, a strip, or a small area. A case of shingles usually heals within a month. Approximately one out of five people will continue to feel pain long after the rash and blisters heal. This is called postherapetic neuralgia.

The most common and debilitating symptom of shingles is pain. Other symptoms include headache, chills, upset stomach, and sensitivity to light, itching or tingling. Shingles is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Shingles is most common in older adults, 50 years old or older, people who have medical conditions that keep the immune system from working properly, or people who receive immunosuppressive drugs. Most people who get shingles recover and will not get it again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that at least one million Americans get shingles each year and about half of them are 60 years old and older.

The shingles vaccine is a live virus vaccine and was licensed for use in 2006. The vaccine is contraindicated in persons who are allergic to neomycin or gelatin, those with a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS, steroids, leukemia, or chemotherapy, and those with active, untreated tuberculosis.

To schedule an appointment for a shingles vaccination or for more information contact Heather Henning, RN, Public Health Nurse, at 203-452-5195.