Doctors say shingles vaccine underused

7:02 PM, Sep 7, 2012   |    comments
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BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Doctors say the cost of the shingles vaccine is keeping many people from protecting themselves against the virus which causes a painful and blistery rash. 

Zostavax, is the only shingles vaccine and has been available for six years. Doctors believe it is underused because of the expense. The vaccine ranges from as little as three dollars to 275 dollars depending on where you get it.

Dr. Jeff Maher of Brunswick Family Medicine follows CDC guidelines and recommends the vaccine to all of his patients over 60. He says shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus that can lay dormant for years and can be triggered by stress and other illnesses.

He says everyone over 60 most likely had the chicken pox and are considered at risk for developing shingles. Some patients are able to avoid the high cost of the vaccine by getting a prescription at a larger pharmacy.

'Most commercial insurances will charge just a co-pay and you are often able to get the vaccine from a large local pharmacy. Then have you them the shot? And make an appointment to have it administered in the office.

The vaccine is only one shot and is fifty percent effective against the virus.



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