The dreaded shingles shot

I’m not turning this site into a report on my health—which is very good, thank you—but I will post any additional bills I get for my hernia surgery, just so you can see what American healthcare costs. And today I will report that I got the second in the series of two shots designed to prevent shingles (Shingrix). After the first jab, you need to get the second between two and six months later. I had another immunization against shingles a couple of years ago—Zostavax—but that shot is apparently passé. The immunizations for shingles were free.

The first Shingrix shot I got, three months ago, gave me flu-like symptoms, and I was out of it for a day (but I still went to work!). This morning’s is already taking effect, with my poor arm hurting like I was punched hard, and the bodily languor starting to set it. I’m going to take some Tylenol and lie down.

But my doc recommended the shots highly, as does the CDC. From what I hear from those who have had shingles, it’s a dreadful and painful malady—far worse than a couple of malaise-inducing jabs. If you’re over 50, get the series. Don’t let my kvetching put you off.

And. . . there’s another series of two shots coming up, perhaps in the Spring, that I’m really looking forward to!

90 Comments

  1. Jenny Haniver
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Free for you. I’m on Medicare, which stupidly doesn’t cover them. They cost about $200 a pop, meaning almost $400.

    • boudiccadylis
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      I too am on medicare and my shots for this vaccination don’t cost me anything. It’s like the flu shot and the pneumonia shot both are medicare paid.

      • Hank
        Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        The pneumonia vaccine shots are free, the shingles vax is not.

    • Posted November 22, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      I was on Covered CA (Obamacare) for my first Shingrix shot. Then I turned 65, and went on Medicare. My booster shot was not covered by Medicare, so I was out around $160. Go figure.

      Also, my wife and I got the first of our pneumonia shots; the follow-up is a year later. Anyway, when we went in to see our GP, she said “oh, no, those ones aren’t the right ones anymore for people of your age.” She said that pharmacies are still pushing the wrong one.

      My point? Before you get a pneumonia shot, you might want to check with your physician first.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      I got the shots last year or the year before (can’t remember) and specifically got Shingrix. I could get the old one under universal health care but I didn’t want that one and thought I’d have to pay for Shingrix but was completely happy to in order not to get shingles or avoid a more serious case of it….turned out I had coverage for it though so hurray! Bonus!

      • dom
        Posted November 23, 2020 at 1:42 am | Permalink

        All these shots- keep your head down! 😬

    • Leigh
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      They are not free for me either. $400 is a lot to pay for a vaccine. I called my Rep and both Senators last week. I have yet to hear back. I think the cost has to be addressed, but it will take lots of us calling elected officials and demanding that shingles vaccine be added to medicare coverage. As you said there is no rational reason for excluding this.

      Please call your reps. Maybe we can get something done.

      • Dom
        Posted November 23, 2020 at 1:46 am | Permalink

        Your country is so screwed up over healthcare… you spend more on it than countries with better safety net type coverage. Why can ordinary people of republican persuasion, not see that they are just lining the pockets of the very rich?!
        I address the community rather than just you Leigh!

  2. Cate Plys
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    My husband and I also got that previous shingles shot, and will be supplementing with the second of the Shingrix shots in a couple of weeks. Shingrix is hugely more effective, and if you know anyone who’s had shingles, you’ll know it’s to be avoided at all costs.

    But word of caution: Jerry’s experience with the Shingrix shot seems common. We never have a reaction to flu shots, but my husband and I were both hit hard for a day by the first Shingrix. We’re timing the second shots so that we get it on different days, and we’re planning to be “sick” on the day we get that second shot. However, my understanding is that the reaction to the shot can be construed as a good indication that your system is producing good immunization due to the vaccine. So, it’s a good thing.

    • John Conoboy
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      I had no reaction to the first shot, but after the second my arm hurt for several days and was a bit swollen. This is the first time I had a bad reaction to any vaccine and I get as many as I can.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      I had a lot of arm pain but I feel every day like I have the flu due to illness so if it happened with a vaccine, I’d just think it was another day.

      • Cate Plys
        Posted November 22, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

        Diana, I’m very sorry to hear that, and I’m sure all the other regular readers who recognize your name and enjoy your comments feel the same way.

    • Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard and read that the side effects from Shingrix are more severe than those of most other shots, and I’ve known people who were laid up for 3-4 days after the first one. I certainly had a stronger reaction to this one, and I don’t really have side effects from other shots.

    • gscott
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      There seems to be a lot of variation in reactions to Shingrix shots. My arm hurt both times, but I didn’t have any other problems with the first one. After the second, I felt like crap for about a day. YMMV

      • Merilee
        Posted November 23, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Haven’t had the 2nd one yet, but the first one gave me chattering teeth for a ouple of hours.

        Btw, I’m not getting WEIT’s emails again. Have to go to the website.

    • Dragon
      Posted November 23, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      I had a bit of soreness in my arm both times after Shingrix vaccination and booster. Nothing more. The first time was a bit more sore than the second. But both were quite minor and did not affect my ability to move things around.
      So, I was quite happy with the results.

  3. Julian Cattaneo
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Re future shots — yes, bring them on!
    As to shingles — I have friends who had it. By all means get the vaccine!

  4. rickflick
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I had a rather mild case of shingles about 6 months ago after having had a shingles immunization a couple of years before that. So it didn’t prevent a flareup, but it minimized it. It was still rather annoying. I’m due for an upgrade.

    • peter hoffman
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      I don’t recall details, but do recall that the extent to which the new vaccine for shingles is superior to the old was a couple of orders of magnitude. I think it became available about 2 years ago, maybe a bit less (up here in Canada).

      I had never bothered with getting the old one.

      I had had what was called shingand brief I was doubtful whether the diagnosis was correct.

      • peter hoffman
        Posted November 22, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        …called shingles, but it was so mild and brief…

        Sorry

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted November 23, 2020 at 5:44 am | Permalink

      One of the great advantages of this new vaccine is that it does not contain whole (attenuated) virus, and can be given to those that are immunocompromised.

      It stimulate CD4 T-cell production.
      I ‘m not sure how effective it is in AIDS patients. Shingles is often the first opportunistic infection in AIDS patients, when their CD4 is still 300-400.

      At any rate you don’t want shingles. especially not in your Trigeminal branch 1, the ophthalmic nerve. VZO (Varicella Zoster Ophthalmica) is a debilitating disease with a lot of excruciating pain, risk to the eye and risk of post herpetic neuralgia.

      If ever you get that one, ask for a Stellate Ganglion (thoraco-cervical ganglion) block ASAP, the earlier, the more effective.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    They have more Shingles vaccines? I did not know that. I got the same ones you just had and I thought that was it. I did not have any flu like feeling but had a sore arm for a day or two. I don’t know why it makes the arm sore but it sure does. Oh well, I will get all the vaccines they put out there – flu or covid, whatever.

  6. Type Logician
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I too have had friends who contracted shingles, and were incapacitated for several weeks (and in one case, months)—and horribly painfully so. But although I had the injections, neither of them produced anything more than mild discomfort. Friends of mine who’ve had the shot report the same thing… is it possible this was a difficulty with the way the injection was performed, rather than something inherent in the vaccine itself?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Nah, people just react differently to the vaccine.

  7. Vaal
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I’d never even considered getting vaccinated for shingles.

    I’m over 50 and had chicken pox as a kid.
    Does this indicate I should get vaccinated?

    (And, yes, sign me up day one for the COVID vaccine!)

    • denise
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes, absolutely.

      • Vaal
        Posted November 23, 2020 at 2:05 am | Permalink

        Yikes! Well, that’s an emphatic bunch of answers. Thanks everyone.

        I’ll get a shot. (Though we are in lockdown for a while…)

    • denise
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely yes.

      • dbsfx
        Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        So when I’m at https://whyevolutionistrue.com I don’t see my comments anymore, that’s why I tried posting this twice. At wordpress.com then I can see them.

    • Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Yes. My wife and I both had chicken pox in childhood. She got shingles in her early 50s, and it was hell. Having chicken pox and then recovering doesn’t protect you. I got the older shingles shot, then got the Shingrix upgrade when that came out. Lucky you, you got to skip the less effective version (which didn’t hurt my body, but dinged my wallet).

    • Posted November 22, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Yes! Do get it!

      I’m in Canada and paid for mine a few years ago as I wasn’t yet 65. Now it’s free here for all seniors 65 and over. I would have to ask my current doc which one I got from the previous doc, and if it’s still good. The latter had urged me to get it, as I tend to have psoriasis and one doesn’t want shingles on top of that. It was just the one jab and there was muscle soreness but nothing problematic.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        If you got the one that only had one shot then you probably got the Zoster one. Shingrix is two shots spaced a couple weeks apart.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Yes, get it. I didn’t get chickenpox until I was 30, but I have had three bouts of shingles since – a couple fairly minor, but one that knocked me sideways for about a month. It’s no joke.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Yes and people are getting it earlier (shingles) so definitely get the vaccine and don’t get the free one, get the Shingrix even if you have to pay. Unless of course that one is covered now and then bonus!

    • Pliny the in Between
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Shingles is cause by reactivation of Varicella virus from a prior case of chickenpox that was dormant in nerve ganglia.

    • Posted November 23, 2020 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      I got it when I was 26 in 1985. It began as intense dagger-like pains during the night, seeming to come from my heart. A few hours later, an itchy rash appeared forming a horizontal belt around the left side of chest and back. The itchy rash looked and felt like coarse sandpaper. One week later, it looked and felt like pizza right out of the oven. The doctor told me what Pliny the in Between wrote here, – it is caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus. She said the immune system keeps the virus in dormancy near the spinal cord, from the time we had chickenpox. If it re-activates, it attacks nerves branching out from its point of origin. She said the pain will increase daily, and in one week, I will understand why it is called “helvetesild” (The fires of hell) in Norwegian. One week later, I understood why. The scars occasionally itch today, 35 years later.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted November 23, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      Yes, and particularly if you are older than 65-70. We do not know exactly why, but this vaccine is remarkable in it’s efficacy in older patients.

  8. Joseph Kosiner
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Had the Zostavax a number of years ago also and my wife and I took the second of the two Shingrix shots a couple of weeks ago. Both were unpleasant, but it does beat the alternative. I don’t think I have ever had any vaccine, that according to the literature, causes significant side effects (both injections) in 80% of the people receiving it.

  9. denise
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    My sympathies. I’m a complete baby when it comes to shots, so for the first Shingrix I prepared for the worst: I did it on day when I could go straight home and be miserable for the rest of the day and all of the next.

    Absolutely nothing happened. No sore arm, no reaction at all. Nor the second shot.

    • Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      My doctor says that side effects are sufficiently common that he recommends his patients get vaccinated at the end of the day on Friday, so you’ll have the weekend to recover if you get a bit debilitated.

  10. Mike
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    The pharmacy wanted $20 to do the Shingrix injections, so I bought the prescription but did the injections myself. First dose in the quad (that was stupid, hurt like hell). Second dose in the triceps, much less painful. Sorry about your flu-like symptoms, I didn’t have that reaction. But yeah better than shingles.

  11. Joseph Kosiner
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    We are on Medicare as well and the Shingrix shots cost me about $160 apiece. My wife pay less because of her other meds…This stuff ain’t cheap.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      That does not sound right to me. Both I and my wife had the shots and they were free. I thought Medicare paid for it. If that is not true then the supplement I have paid?

      • Larry Smith
        Posted November 22, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        I also have a supplemental plan, and that didn’t help (I paid $160 for one shot).

        Perhaps some of us had already met a deductible, and others not? I know for sure that I hadn’t met any possible deductible, as getting my Shingrix booster was literally the first Medicare experience.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted November 22, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          You can think what you want but these shots are paid for by Medicare. I have all my paperwork right here and we got our shots at CVS. After getting past four pages of information about the shots we come to the consent for service and the authorization for payment. It says – I do hereby authorize CVS pharmacy to release information and request payment. I certify that the information given by in applying for payment under Medicare or Medicaid is correct. I had to sign this document.

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted November 22, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

            I, too, get my prescriptions filled at CVS. I have straight Medicare, no extra insurance plan. I just called my CVS to double check and was told that CVS does not cover the cost of the shots if you’re on Medicare,unless you have an insurance plan that does cover them.

            These rules and regulations about Medicare authorizations and payments, and the relationships between govt. agencies and insurance providers are so tangled that I could envision a form stating that Medicare paid for the shots, when in reality it was via some obscure and byzantine reimbursement channel from the insurance co. Just look at the furor over Fizer and the Covid vaccine– did they or didn’t they take money from the govt.? Were they or weren’t they part of Operation Warp Speed? There are definitive answers but they aren’t simple yesses and noes. It’s nuanced and a bit complicated.We want yes or no and be done with it. And at this point, I don’t care who pays. I would if I could but I can’t.

            In the event, this discussion has made me decide that since it’s still open enrollment, first thing Monday, I’m going to join an insurance co. that will cover the shot and get my shot as soon as possible.

            Thanks one and all for this discussion. It’s been immensely informative and hopefully, I’ll be spared an attack of shingles because of it. Perhaps other readers will be spared because of it, too.

            Whatever entity actuallpays for the shots

          • Leigh
            Posted November 22, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

            OK. I’ll try CVS pharmacy.
            I’m changing plans, so I’ll probably wait until Jan. That we all have such different experiences with some getting the vaccine paid for and others getting dinged for 400.00 is a problem in need of fixing.

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted November 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

              I am not an expert on Medicare but have had it for several years now. The papers provided by CVS tells me that is where they got the money for the Shingles shots. Medicare either pays for things or they don’t. The problem others may have is with who they see.

  12. Ruthann Richards
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I had shingles about six years ago–on the back and side of my head. It put me out of action for about six weeks, which isn’t as long as some people I know. The Zostavax vaccine became widely available about the time I had shingles, so I had to wait until all symptoms disappeared before I could get it (about six months).

    Last year I had both doses of Shingrix. Although I don’t react to flu shots and had a very limited reaction to the first Shingrix, I reacted quite a bit to the second dose–various odd symptoms that made me feel ill for a couple of days. It will be worth it never to have shingles again, but plan for a couple of days off after the second dose just in case.

  13. EliHershkovitz
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I have had shingles at least five times. The worst episode was zoster sine herpete (shingles without a rash). I lost a year of work after that episode. This vaccine is not for everyone. Some of the rarer side effects include blindness. Since I am not a candidate (neuro-immunological issues) for this technological wonder I take prophylactic Valtrex twice daily. If you are healthy, I highly recommend Shingrix. Anyone with immune system dysfunction should check with an immunologist.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted November 23, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      As mentioned above (under 4) the new Shingrix does -contrary to other shingles vaccines- not use attenuated virus. It uses a glycoprotein antigen with an adjuvans to increase the immune reaction. So theoretically it would be safe, even if you’re immunocompromised.

  14. David Frayer
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I had the Zostavax shot about five years ago and got shingles while in Rome for Darwin Day. I gave my lecture anyway, although I had a lot pain in my right eye and forehead. When back, I complained to my dr and he nonchalantly said Zostavax was not that effective. Shingrix appears to offer better protection. JC was wise to get his shots. The reaction to the shot is nothing compared to shingles.

    • peter hoffman
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Yes, if wiki is believable on this:

      “..Shingrix is 97% effective at preventing herpes zoster (shingles) in folks over 50 whereas the Zostavax shot is 50-64% effective in preventing shingles in those 50-70 and even lower for those over 70. Shingrix also stays effective for longer…”

      So, of 100 putative cases, maybe 40 with Zostavax get it, but only 3 on Shingrix–even better for the really ancient such as me.

      40/3 is more than 10 but less than 100, so not really 2 orders of magnitude better, but still more than 10 times better. I exaggerated slightly above.

  15. KD33
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I had the two Shingrix shots earlier this year. After the first I was mildly tired for a day. After the second I was tired and achy for two days. But unlike an actual virus my recovery was instantaneous: day 3 it was like nothing had happened. I am very thankful this vaccine exists. Everyone I know who’s had shingles said it’s horrific, and the comments here reinforce this.
    And to those who asked, yes you should get it even if you had chicken pox as a kid.

    • peter hoffman
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      At age 78, my Shingrix reaction less than a year ago was so mild that I remember zero. But skiing, rollerskiing, biking etc. 6 days a week made it mildly disorienting to need to quit for a few days.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Having chickenpox is what makes you get shingles. Those kids who have been vaccinated against chicken pox will never have to worry about shingles. Shingles is basically the reactivation of the virus that caused chicken pox. So those anti-vax having chicken pox parties for their kids are really damning them to something they don’t have to ever experience (unlike us).

      • EliHershkovitz
        Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Both my daughters were vaccinated against chickenpox and both came down with a mild case of chickenpox. It is theoretically possible to get shingles later in life even if you have been vaccinated against chickenpox.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted November 23, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      Not even if, but especially if you had chickenpox.
      As pointed out above by Pliny the in between (under 7), after your chickenpox the virus lies dormant in one or other ganglion, checked by your immune system (mainly CD4 T-cells here). As your T-cells become rarer or less efficient with age or immunocompromised state, the varicella virus will rear its ugly head and give you shingles.

  16. Frank Bath
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    In Britain to reduce the possibility of getting shingles everyone in their 70’s gets a ‘free’ NHS one shot Zostavax jab.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      I believe that earlier shingles shot was after age 60. Not sure what age they want on this newer two shot series. 65 would be likely since that is the age for Medicare…

  17. Dom
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Yeay! Hugs for poor PCC [E] esp. on the arm! 😁😗

  18. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    I believe that earlier shingles shot was after age 60. Not sure what age they want on this newer two shot series. 65 would be likely since that is the age for Medicare…

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      I think the established thinking was people typically get shingles after 60 which was true for a long time but now people in their 20s are getting shingles so they put it down to 50 and I opted to get it before I turned 50 after reading horror stories of young 30 year olds with scratched corneas from getting shingles in the eyes. Yeeesh! Shots please!

      • JBlilie
        Posted November 23, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        A pharmacist I met during my recovery from shingle/concussion/stroke had a friend who was blinded in one eye.

        Shingles destroys the nerves, so, unless you’re lucky enough have the nerves regenerate, that’s it.

        One of the nurses I worked with was deaf in one ear from shingles.

        Shingles is MUCH more serious than just a sore rash.

      • JBlilie
        Posted November 23, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

        And: everyone I know who has had shingles got it before the age of 60.

  19. normwalsh
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    My wife and I both had the single shingles shot 5 years or so. My wife had a bout of shingles a couple years ago. Not sure if she has any immunity now or not. Will check with Dr.

  20. Paul Topping
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Got my two Shingrix doses about a year ago and one did make me a bit woozy for the rest of the day. I put it down to also getting another shot at the same time but I forget what that one was for. Perhaps pneumonia. My father got shingles and said it was very painful and lasted weeks so it was probably all worth it.

  21. Jay Tanzman
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I had flu-like symptoms, including a mild fever, for 24 hours after the second dose. Way better that than shingles, though.

  22. greg geisler
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    My wife and I got them last year. We both had flu-like reactions. The first was worse than the second. Our insurance paid 100%. And yes, will gladly get the covid vaccine when available. Texas is apparently one of four states that Pfizer has chosen to roll it out.

    • Posted November 22, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      I get all my shots and between Medicare and insurance from my former job (state retiree), they cost me nothing. I also volunteered for the clinical trial of one of the Covid-19 vaccines. I’m pretty sure I got the vaccine and not the placebo because I developed mild flu-like symptoms that lasted about 24 hours after I got the shot. I go in Wednesday for a booster.

      • JBlilie
        Posted November 23, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        Good on you for volunteering for the COVID study. Thank you!

  23. Glenda Palmer
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Really happy to see this conversation – it got me motivated. Just finished talking to pharmacist and arranging for two Shingrix shots. I have had shingles twice – I get the ‘almost’ invisible type. First time I thought I had somehow cracked a rib but my doctor figured it out and afterwards got a few spots along the lower ribs for a couple of days. Uncomfortable for 4-5 weeks. The second time I spent three months in extreme pain and was left with permanent nerve damage and I’m still on gabapentin for this. I did get an anti-shingles shot shortly afterward but new better one is Shingrix, pharmacist just agreed. It will cost me $160 for each shot here in British Columbia. OY – I don’t want to ever get shingles again.

    • JBlilie
      Posted November 23, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      I, too, have permanent nerve damage from shingles. Glad you got both types of vaccine.

      Luckily, I was able to just tough out the period when my nerves were tingly/twitchy following shingles. I did not take Gabapentin. I’m glad you tolerate it.

      If you read the possible side effects, it’s like an anti-antidepressant.

      My Mom took it for a while and it made her distinctly depressed (and we got her off of it).

      Watch out for depression side effects.

  24. Hempenstein
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Remembering how laid up a couple neighbors were with shingles when they were in their ’70s and I was in my ’20s, I didn’t hesitate getting Zostavax. And when I heard about Shingrix I went right down to CVS and got on the waiting list. I was #300. It took me a year to work my way up to first for takeoff, about a year ago, because of production problems. Same as everyone else, first shot gave only slight after-effects but with the second one I was out of commission for a day. Only a day, no regrets, and snapped right back.

  25. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Do get these shots. Shingles can sometimes be very nasty, as seen from from friends who developed it. I got both Shingrix shots and they were no big deal, just a slight shoulder soreness for a couple of days,

  26. David Anderson
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    How co-incidental! Just this week I was zooming with a 58 year old friend who reported the first ever “difficult” vaccine I’d ever heard of from anybody I know personally – it was shingella also.

    It wasn’t a disaster or anything – pain at site and he was laid low for a morning, but its WAY better than the actual shingles disease which is apparently just horrible. (see above commenters).
    I’ll get the vaccine (I’m 50) sometime soon-ish after my usual procrastination. 🙂

    Hope you feel better soon prof.

    D.A., NYC
    https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2020/06/10/photos-of-readers-93/

  27. Posted November 22, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Query, Dr Coyne, for Dr Lickerman with regard
    to the coming vaccines against Covid – 19:
    IS there to be / should Elders be receiving
    a version that is, antigenicity – wise,
    specifically formulated to be administered
    to persons of 65 years and older ?
    as there, for some time already, is such a deal
    in re vaccines against the various influenze ?

    Blue

  28. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    I stand corrected on the Shots and who pays. After going thru my statements from Medicare and aetna (supplemental) I see it was aetna that paid on the Shingles vaccinations. Medicare paid on other vaccinations, flu shots and some others but not Shingles. Sorry about that…I was wrong.

  29. Posted November 22, 2020 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    You went to work three months ago?! I thought you were retired!

  30. John Nunes
    Posted November 22, 2020 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    I had the Shingrex shots, but I got shingles anyway. For one thing there was more than 6 month delay between the shots because demand jumped so much that it became unavailable for a while. Then, having lymphoma and treating it with an autologous stem cell transplant makes me a bit immune compromised. I was fortunate that my case of shingles was very mild, and I’ve read horror stories on lymphoma support groups. I now take low dose acyclovir as insurance to not getting shingles again.

  31. Posted November 23, 2020 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    I had no idea there even was a vaccine for shingles. I just looked it up and I found that I can get it on the NHS (for free obviously) but not until I’m 70. Scary thought: that’s only 16 years away.

    • JBlilie
      Posted November 23, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Most unfortunate that you have to wait until 70. Wonder about the logic on that. Everyone I know who’s had shingles, including me, got it well before age 70.

      • Posted November 23, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        Maybe it gets worse as you get older.

        I can get it privately. It costs £170 at Superdrug which is a pharmacy chain in the UK. I could probably also get it for free through BUPA which is the private health insurance I get through my company.

        • JBlilie
          Posted November 23, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know how old you are; but I recommend getting it! 🙂

  32. Posted November 23, 2020 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    I’ve had shingles three times. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

    • Posted November 23, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      You must not have any very bad enemies, which surely says good things about you. I, on the other hand, have had shingles, albeit not too severe a case, and I can think of quite a few people I don’t even know personally (certain public figures in particular) on whom I’d happily visit a case (though not if they’re near any adults who haven’t had chicken pox!).

  33. JBlilie
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I highly recommend everyone get the shingles shots. I would do that again, even if I had to pay $1000. Probably more.

    I got shingles at age 56. It hit me like the worst flu Id ever had. One minute, I was dropping my son off at school following our visit to the dentist. Got back to my work desk; and the moment I sat down, I felt suddenly really, really, horrible. I thought: I have to go home to bed, right now.

    I felt terrible all evening, complaining. My wife said: You are staying home tomorrow and I agreed. But I was so out of it when we went to bed that I left the alarm set. I got up to the alarm (Pavlov’s human) and promptly passed out, hitting my head on a protruding tiled step next to the tub. Next thing I remember was waking up woozy, surrounded by people in blue uniforms.

    Off the hospital. Tested negative for the flu; but three days later, I was in full concussion symptoms and down, in bed (20+ hours per day) for four weeks.

    I also had a small stroke (the neurologist described it as “tiny” which I told her was an excellent word). The neurologist I saw later for the nerve damage due to the shingles said the stroke was likely related to the shingles, as my “numbers” (cholesterol and the like) have always been, “wow, these are great, keep doing what you’re doing” (chose my parents well).

    And after all that, I had a lengthy (1-2 years) partial recovery from post-herpetic neuralgia. I have permanent nerve damage in my left arm and left leg. And the nerve damage was initially much worse (nevermind). I was lucky to recover most of the losses in my nerves. My balance has been noticeably affected due to the motor nerve damage in my left leg.

    It’s been over three years now. I asked by second neurologist how long nerves can recover an his reply was, “we don’t give up hope until 24 months.” So, I guess I have the damage I’m going to have.

    I never felt the nasty rash or nerve pain most people get with shingles. That all happened (it did happen) when I was down with concussion and I never noticed (that’s how bad the concussion symptoms were).

    Concussion: I shed 40 pounds in a month because I was nauseated 24/7. Sound and light were incredibly painful. Talking was torture. Sleep was the only escape (and fortunately, that is what is prescribed).

    Among the professionals I worked with to recover from all this (it all happened over a 2-month period — a true annus horribilis) I met one pharmacist whose friend was blinded in one eye by shingles and a cardiac nurse I worked with for a stress test was deafened in one ear from singles.

    Shingles is not to be taken lightly.

    My advice: Get your shingles shots. Get both kinds. And protect your head!

  34. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I went in for a flu shot on Saturday and saw the sign recommending the shingles shots. I asked about them and decided to put them off until I knew I could be out of action for a day or two.

    I’ve had shingles – about 16 years ago and at first, before the nasty skin disruptions occured I thought it might be a kidney stone coming on. (It never got as bad as a kidney stone though – I’ve had 3 and the last was worse. I’ve heard that women who’ve gone through childbirth and a kidney stone say the latter is more painful.) Anyway, I recommend the shots – shingles suck.

  35. Hempenstein
    Posted November 23, 2020 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    When you hope for and welcome the reaction to the second shot: When you’re participating, as a colleague is, in the Moderna COVID vaccine trial and you of course don’t know if you got the actual vaccine or the placebo.

    When he told me after the first shot that he had gotten a mild reaction I said it might just be from the adjuvant, but thinking on that further, RNA vaccines may not require an adjuvant. In any event, he got a considerably more pronounced reaction after the second shot, and is greatly pleased. And so am I as he is crucial to a mutual effort.

  36. Posted November 25, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Zoztavax is the older vaccine, and was better than nothing. Shingrix, the newer vaccine is a conjugated vaccine (combined with a tiny amount of something else that the immune system can react to), so it works better to produce immunity. I’ve had them both with no significant reaction. If you’ve ever known a person who had a severe case of shingles, you’ll know the shots are worth getting–we know a friend who was hospitalized for weeks due to shingles.


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