Free Shingles Vaccine Clinic #LSN_Health
THUNDER BAY, ON --- December 17, 2016 (LSN) The shingles vaccine is free for those ages 65-70, BUT if you were born in 1945 it’s only free until December 31, 2016.
If you were born in 1945, call the Health Unit at 625-5900 to make an appointment. Two special clinics will be offered: Thurs. Dec. 22 or Thur. Dec. 29.
If you can’t make these clinics, call your health care provider right away to discuss your options.
If you are between the ages of 65 and 70 and would like to get the vaccine for FREE, you can call your health care provider or you can call 625-5900 to make an appointment to attend the Health Unit’s weekly Wednesday immunization clinic.
What causes shingles
The varicella zoster virus causes shingles. It’s the same virus that causes chickenpox.
Shingles is a painful skin rash – with blisters – that can occur anywhere on the body but usually shows up in a strip on either side. In some cases, the rash occurs on one side of the face.
A shingles infection can be very serious. It can lead to complications such as loss of vision and debilitating nerve pain.
Know your shingles risk
You can get shingles at any age if you’ve had chickenpox.
But older adults and those who are immunocompromised (e.g. HIV+, defects in T-cell function) get it most often. Two-thirds of shingles cases in Canada happen to people over 50 years old. The severity of shingles and its complications also increase with age.
Age is the most important risk factor.
Shingles not contagious
You can’t get shingles from someone who has it, or pick it up from a particular environment.
The varicella virus can be passed from one person to another, but only when:
a person has shingles with a rash in the blister phase
the other person has not had chickenpox
In this case the person exposed to the virus might develop chickenpox but would not develop shingles.
Vaccine effectiveness and safety
The vaccine reduces your chance of getting the virus by more than 50%, depending on your age. Vaccine effectiveness is higher among seniors between 65 and 70 years old.
No vaccine is 100% effective. If you get vaccinated, you may still develop shingles. But the infection would likely be less severe and you’d be better protected from complications.
The vaccine has been licenced by Health Canada, having met all requirements under the Food and Drugs Act.
How you qualify
To get the free shingles vaccine, you must be 65 to 70 years old.
If you turn 71 in 2016 – born in 1945 – you can still get the free shingles vaccine. But you have to get it no later than December 31.
Where you get it
Get free shingles vaccine from your family doctor or other primary care provider (e.g. nurse practitioner).