It required three or four months on a wait list, but I finally got my first of two Shingrix shots yesterday. Shingrix is the new vaccine for shingles that has been in short supply since its approval and introduction last year. Having had a “mild” case of shingles back in the ’90s, I wasn’t about to gamble that it conferred immunity. I don’t even want to contemplate what a really severe case might be like.
The pharmacist told me about side effects that have been reported with the vaccine, and it definitely sounded more rugged than a flu shot (longer lasting, more severe injection site soreness; possible headache, fever, fatigue, nausea, etc.) but I wasn’t about to pass on my opportunity to get the vaccine. And so far, 24 hours later, all I’ve noticed is a sore arm no worse than a flu shot.
Having gotten my shot yesterday, I’m automatically on the wait list for the second shot in two to six months. (It takes two injections for full effect.)
The only bad side effect was discovering that my Medicare Advantage plan only paid a couple of dollars for the vaccination and my co-pay was a whopping $195. I suppose the same will be true of the second vaccination. Apparently other insurance plans are paying all or most of the cost.
Anyway, if you’re over 50 and had chicken pox as a child — didn’t we all? — I urge you to consider this vaccine and get on a wait list if necessary, even if you’ve already gotten the older vaccine (Zostavax).(See CDC recommendations.) I guarantee if you get shingles, you’ll wish you’d been vaccinated.
(And for whatever it’s worth, I’ve long heard that getting a shot in your dominant arm will help work out the soreness faster. Also a nurse once suggested I get my shot in the arm opposite the side I usually sleep on. Makes sense. Between the two, I always get shots in my right arm.)