P.E.I. to offer shingles vaccine free for seniors

·1 min read
Symptoms of shingles include a blistering, painful rash, fever and headaches. (Shutterstock - image credit)
Symptoms of shingles include a blistering, painful rash, fever and headaches. (Shutterstock - image credit)

P.E.I. will be making a vaccine that prevents shingles free for seniors next year.

The two dose Shingrix vaccine will be available for Islanders who are 65 and older beginning in January.

Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association, said one dose of the vaccine usually costs around $180.

"The cost of $180 per shot — and you do require two of them — could be prohibitive for a lot of people, particularly those who are, you know, not covered by an insurance plan," she said.

"Most of our folks who are over the age of 65 and some who are retired may not have a plan that did cover it. So it is something that is very good news for these people."

The province's latest budget allocated $1.5 million for a shingles vaccine.

MacKenzie said offering it at pharmacies for free will remove barriers that prevented Islanders from accessing the vaccine.

Shingles is a viral infection that can trigger a painful rash.

It is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus lies inactive after a person gets the disease, only to possibly re-emerge years later.

The province said about 30 per cent of adults will get shingles in their lifetime, and 10 per cent will develop lingering nerve pain as a result.

The two doses of the Shingrix vaccine are given between two and six months apart.

Over 32,000 Islanders are over the age of 65.

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