The Shingles Vaccine and Older Adults

August 24, 2017 Jeanette Stern

Immunization: Shingles And The Older Adults

Did you know that at least one out of three people in the United States will have the shingles virus? If you have recovered from the Chickenpox virus, also known as varicella, you can develop shingles one day. Children can also develop shingles.

How Long Can Shingles Last?

However, the chances of someone developing shingles increases as the years go by. The majority of shingles diagnosis occurs in women and men who are aged 60 and older. Shingles can last for an entire month, and this virus can also turn into a condition that is known as post-herpetic neuralgia. When someone has post-herpetic neuralgia, he or she will experience aches and a burning sensation.

Why Aren't More People Getting Their Shingles Vaccination? 

One of the reasons why adults who are aged 60 and older are encouraged to get a shingles vaccination is because the disease occurs more in adults in those age ranges. However, only a small number of adults over the age of 65 have actually been vaccinated. One of the reasons the number is so low is because not everyone is properly informed on the shingles virus. Another reason many people do not get vaccinated is that they may not think the shingles vaccination will have any impact on them avoiding developing the shingles virus. 

Can The Shingles Vaccine Protect You?

While the shingles vaccination may not have a big of an impact on the pertussis immunizations or the rubeola immunizations, many of the people who do get the shingles vaccine will be protected. 

Will The Shingles Vaccine Be Effective For All Older Adults?

The shingles vaccine may not be as effective for seniors as they age. The shingles vaccine is most effective for the older adults who are in their sixties. Adults in their seventies may not have as much protection as those in their sixties, but they will have some protection. The shingles vaccine will be less than 50 percent effective for adults who are in their seventies.

The shingles vaccine will be less than 20 percent effective for the older adults who are in their eighties. Someone who has received the vaccine and still developed shingles may not experience the same symptoms as someone who has never received the vaccination. 

The Shingles Vaccine Does Make A Difference

There is always a high number of people being diagnosed with shingles every year, and not just in the United States. Unfortunately, the high number includes people who are in their 80s. This is part of the reason why so many of the shingles cases result in people becoming seriously ill. These numbers could certainly decrease if more people were receiving immunizations.

The Cost Of A Vaccination

One of the reasons why people are not receiving vaccinations is due to the cost. Adult vaccines can be covered under Part B of an older adults Medicare benefits, except for the shingles vaccine. This vaccine is listed as an optional medical benefit, and it is covered under Medicare Part D. Since this is an optional medical benefit, many older adults do not purchase Medicare Part D. 

Many older adults cannot afford to pay $200 to receive the shingles vaccine, and this results in many older adults being diagnosed with this painful disease. Vaccines for older adults should be more affordable, and it is also important that they know as much about these diseases as they can possibly know. 

When older adults, younger adults, and medical professionals are more aware and engaged, it can go a long way toward making improving in immunization rates. 

For additional information on the shingles vaccine and other immunization news, do not hesitate to contact us today. 

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