The Affordable Care Act … has recommended the shingles vaccine for those aged 60 or older. (1)
Herpes Zoster (HZ), commonly called shingles, is a distinctive syndrome caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which also causes chickenpox. VZV is a herpes virus. Many places that offer Zostavax, the shingles vaccine, charge at least $200.00.
The CDC says that the vaccine, “is available by prescription from a healthcare professional. It can be given in the doctor’s office and pharmacies.” (2)
For those who find the the cost hard to afford, the vaccine is covered under the Affordable Care Act. “The Affordable Care Act requires private health insurance plans to cover the cost of preventive care based on the recommendation of expert medical bodies such as the US Preventive Services Task Force and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (known as ACIP). ACIP has recommended the shingles vaccine for those aged 60 or older.” (1)
However, the Center reminds the public that also according to the CDC, “There are no long-term studies showing how long the vaccine is effective in 50 to 59 year olds. In adults vaccinated at age 60 years or older, protection from the vaccine decreases within the first 5 years after vaccination.” In addition, shingles can develop in anyone that has ever had chickenpox, and at any age.
The CDC notes that the varicella zoster virus (VZV), which is a herpes virus, causes both chickenpox and shingles. “After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. For reasons that are not fully known, the virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.” (3) Additionally, the CDC adds that “almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, in their lifetime. There are an estimated 1 million cases of shingles each year in this country. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles; even children can get shingles. However the risk of shingles increases as you get older. About half of all cases occur in men and women 60 years old or older.” (4)
The bottom line?
Individuals older than 60 should probably get vaccinated against the VZV.
(1) Hiland, A “Shingles vaccine may be covered for those age 60 or older” July 18, 2015 azcentral.com
(2) CDC.gov – Shingles (Herpes Zoster) – Vaccination
(3) Polansky, H. Itzkovitz, E. Gene-Eden-VIR Is Antiviral: Results of a Post Marketing Clinical Study. Published in September 2013.
(4) CDC.gov – “Shingles (Herpes Zoster)” – Prevention & Treatment. Last Reviewed on May 1, 2014.