Alert
Close

Tell your senator to end the gridlock and renew the Older Americans Act now. Learn more

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy

AARP REALPAD

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

AARP’s Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Health Beat — Take This

Shingles Vaccine Protects Many

If you can get your hands on it, that is

"The Medicare Part D partnership is with pharmacies, not physicians, so if people get the vaccine at a pharmacy, it's relatively seamless," Harpaz explains. "But if they want to do it at their physician's office, they either have to pay full cost and then file to get reimbursed, or the physician sends them to the pharmacy to get the vaccine and bring it back, to which the CDC is very opposed" because the vaccine must remain frozen.

Finally, not many older adults and their doctors even know about the vaccine. Unlike the publicity surrounding the flu vaccine, the shingles vaccine has had a much lower public profile.

"The fact that it's not been marketed is directly tied to the supply shortage. They don't want to overpromise and get people angry," says Harpaz.

Shingles Vaccine

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. — Marc Schlossman/Getty Images

A person's lifetime risk of getting shingles is about 30 percent, and those odds increase with age, say researchers. "The risk of getting shingles by age 85 can be 50 percent," says the study's lead author, Hung-Fu Tseng, a research scientist with Kaiser Permanente.

A 2005 shingles study found the vaccine to be less effective in those 79 and older, but the new study found that it lowered the risk of shingles in patients of all ages including the oldest population, Tseng wrote. Because shingles tends to be more debilitating for those in their 80s, it makes plenty of sense to give the vaccine to the oldest seniors, adds Harpaz.

There's also another reason for seniors to get the vaccine, he says. Older adults who got shingles even after getting the vaccine experienced milder symptoms and a shorter period of pain. The vaccine also reduced the risk of hospitalization and more severe complications.

The benefits are clear, he says. Now, if only the vaccine were actually available.

Update: Rite Aid has announced that nearly 1,900 of its pharmacies have the shingles vaccine in stock. To find a Rite Aid location near you, go to www.riteaid.com/shingles and enter your zip code. Patients should call first to see if appointments are necessary and for the cost, which varies with insurance coverage. Rite Aid pharmacists can administer the vaccine in 27 of the 31 states where the pharmacies are located; in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and West Virginia, state regulations require the pharmacy to hold scheduled clinics.

Candy Sagon writes about nutrition and health for the AARP Bulletin.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Advertisement