Procrastinators: Get The Shingles Vaccine!
I think, therefore I procrastinate
At TMVC, we hear lots of reasons why people procrastinate about getting the Shingrix shingles vaccine.
Everything from “I don’t like taking vaccines” to “not everyone gets shingles I’m willing to take the risk.”
We get it, for many healthy middle-aged BCer’s getting the shingles shot is low on the priority list.
Having said that, you are taking an enormous gamble with your health.
If you are 50+, the consequences of this completely avoidable disease are serious, painful and in some cases life-long.
It’s not worth the risk says TMVC Nursing Director, Colleen Jeffrey:
“Getting shingles is extremely painful, it feels like you are being electrocuted. Some people can’t wear clothes, anything touching the skin hurts, even the wind can trigger a response. Others experience excruciating long-term nerve pain that can go on for years.”
I feel healthy, grow my own vegetables, wash my hands a lot
Shingles doesn’t care.
This is not a disease you can control, or that you catch from someone else.
It’s an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus which lies dormant in your nervous system.
The varicella-zoster virus is the same virus that causes chickenpox.
So if you are like 90% of Canadians who’ve had chickenpox the v-z virus is living inside you as I speak.
Typically it stays dormant for years, but as we age our immune system weakens allowing the varicella-zoster virus to reactivate itself.
When it does, you get a red bumpy blister rash that feels like razor blades ripping at your skin.
This painful bumpy rash is called shingles.
Pretty much 100% avoidable
Last year, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKlein brought out a powerful new shingles vaccine called Shingrix.
(GSK did not pay us to say that 🙂)
Shingrix reduces the risk of shingles by more than 97% in adults aged 50-69.
If you are 70 or older, the vaccine is more than 91% effective.
This is an enormous increase in efficacy over the previous shingles vaccine Zostervax which worked about 50% of the time.
In fact, if you have already been vaccinated with Zostavax we are recommending that you come in and get the Shingrix shingles vaccine to ensure almost full immunity.
You’ll need two shots, 2-6 months apart.
They cost $150 each, but they are worth every penny.
Will this warning fall on deaf ears?
Hope springs eternal 🙂
As much as we’d like to say it isn’t true, we regularly witness the lack of urgency associated with shingles vaccination.
More than 130,000 Canadians contracted shingles last year, and about 1 in 3 people will get it in their lifetime.
Research also shows that the older you are the more likely you are to get it, and that the number of Canadians getting shingles each year is increasing.
So it’s definitely a thing
If you’re still not convinced you need the Shingrix shingles vaccine here’s a final word from a few people who’ve experienced shingles:
61-year-old Montreal teacher, Joan Robicheau: “I was in constant pain for at least 2 years, the pain took over my whole being.”
48-year-old Peterborough nutritionist, Erin Bell: “The pain was unrelenting, it was like being wrapped in flaming barbed wire.”
28-year old wellness blogger, Lisa Marie Basile: “Horrific nerve pain made my head spin. It felt like someone (was) burning, punching, and cutting me at the same time. At one moment in the depths of pain, I thought, “I won’t survive if this lasts more than a few days.”
So procrastinators mull no more, say goodbye to complacency, be smart, come see us and get protected.
Important info not in the blog
NOTE 1: Long term clinical trials of the shingles vaccine Shingrix are ongoing so it’s hard to say how long it will protect you for. It’s definitely good for 4 years, but beyond that no-one knows.
NOTE 2: You can get shingles more than once.
NOTE 3: TMVC has plenty of Shingrix. The North America-wide shortage of the Shingrix shingles vaccine is now limited to continental USA.
NOTE 4: Some people will experience pain and temporary short-term flu-like symptoms associated with the shingles shot.