New Push On For Shingles Vaccinations

SPOKANE, Wash. - After a recent national shortage of shingles, there's a new push to get immunized. Locally, pharmacies are pushing to get those 60 or older vaccinated to prevent the painful rash.

Joy Best is 71, which is prime age for shingles. About eight years ago she developed what looked like a heat rash.

?I was just covered from the middle of my spine all the way around the left side to the naval,? Best said. ?Some of them are very slight, just a rash that itches, just drives you crazy!?

Best's was a more severe bout of Shingles. She was hospitalized at one point in December of 2010.

Shingles come from the same virus as chicken pox. Long after the red bumps have healed, the virus lays dormant in your body. The virus can then crop up as shingles around the age of 60. Doctors aren't sure why that age group is targeted by shingles.

Walgreens Pharmacy Manager Ashley Bruck says the vaccine has been around for about three years and there are sporadic nation-wide shortages. Locally, the vaccine has been replenished and they're pushing to give everyone they can the shot.

?We're seeing baby boomers in that age group, so we're seeing an increase in numbers probably because of that so the awareness has increased,? Bruck said.

She says the shingles shot is the only way to decrease your changes of developing shingles later on. You can still get shingles even if you've had the vaccination. Walgreens is only giving those over the age of 60 the shot, because they're the most susceptible group.

?Since I've had shingles, they came out with the shingles shot and I got it,? Best said.

It's peace of mind for Best. Though she's still dealing with her first bout with shingles.

?I still itch and every once in a while it'll just be a sharp bite,? Best explained.

Best's advice for you is to get the shingles shot as a preventative measure.

?I wouldn't even think twice about it,? Best said.

The shot is about $220 and is covered by Medicaid and most insurance policies with a co-pay.