While vaccines are a common part of childhood and may be considered when adults travel outside of the country, other vaccines can be neglected as a part of our routine preventive care. As we get older, there are certain vaccines available that may help us prevent certain illnesses. Shingrix is a vaccine that has been reported to be 90% effective in preventing shingles, a painful condition that affects many individuals over the age of 50. If you are eligible for Medicare, you may have coverage for Shingrix.
What Is Shingles?
Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is known to cause chickenpox. Even if you get chicken pox in their youth, the virus is never fully flushed out of your system. Instead, it goes into a kind of dormancy. Later in life, if your immune system gets compromised or depressed by some other condition, the virus goes active again and causes shingles. The condition may be more common in Medicare recipients who are at a higher risk based on underlying diseases, such as cancer or HIV/AIDS, are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy for cancer, or take certain medications.
Shingles is not a lethal condition, but it often proves very painful. The infection causes a series of small blisters that typically confine themselves to either the right or left side of your torso in a small area. Other common symptoms of the condition include:
- Light sensitivity
What To Know About Shingrix
Shingrix is a vaccine that has been highly effective in preventing shingles, as well as a related condition called postherpetic neuralgia. You get the vaccine in two doses at an interval of about 2 to 6 months. The vaccine is generally recommended for those over the age of 50 and offers protection for around 4 years.
Medicare Coverage for Shingrix
Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage may help pay for the Shingrix vaccine. If you have Original Medicare, you can enroll in a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). If you choose to join a Medicare Advantage plan, you will have the same Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare, but many plans include prescription drug coverage. The Shingrix vaccine typically runs around $140 per shot or $280 total. Medicare coverage under Part D varies by the individual plan. Check with your plan to find out your exact cost.