by Penny Gleave RN, BScN Penny Gleave RN, BScN No Comments

The shingles vaccine we’ve been waiting for…..Shingrix!

We’re pleased to be able to offer our ‘mature’ clients the Shingrix vaccine.  This highly effective vaccine provides over 90% protection against shingles after two doses.  Anybody who has had chickenpox is at risk for shingles.


How is shingles contracted?

The virus responsible for shingles is varicella-zoster.  Varicella-zoster causes chickenpox, and later in life can cause shingles.

Chickenpox is highly infectious and causes a blister-type rash, fever and also infects the nervous system.  After recovering from chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in the central nervous system.  Later, the virus can reactivate causing shingles.  As we get older the risk of having shingles increases and it is more common in people over 50 years old and those with a weakened immune system.   The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) states 1 in 3 people will get shingles in their lifetime.


What is shingles?

Shingles is a blister-type rash along a nerve pathway that causes pain, and paresthesia (sensation of pricking or tingling).  Often it appears on the body or face and may last 2-4 weeks.  Other symptoms can include fever, headache, nausea and chills.  Pain is a common symptom and can be severe.  The pain is described as burning, sharp, or throbbing.  According to the BCCDC, ‘about one in five people who get shingles may have severe pain that lasts months to years after the rash has cleared.’  This is is called post-herpetic neuralgia. This is a serious complication of shingles and can effect basic daily activities such as walking and sleeping.  Other complications from shingles can include weakness, facial or muscle paralysis, loss of hearing or vision problems.

People who have never had chickenpox disease or vaccine can contract chickenpox from direct contact with fluid from shingles blisters.

People with shingles feeling well enough to work and continue with normal activities of daily living, should ensure their rash is well-covered.


Is there treatment?

If diagnosed promptly, antivirals can be prescribed to avoid shingles or to decrease the severity and duration.  We recommend you see your health care provider if you think you have shingles.


Can I get shingles more than once?

Yes.  Vaccination is recommended for people who have already had shingles.


I received the Zostavax (shingles vaccine) in the past.  Should I still get the Shingrix vaccine? 

In Canada, currently there are no confirmed recommendations for re-vaccinating with Shingrix after receiving Zostavax in the past.  We will update this blog when confirmation is available.


Shingrix Vaccine Facts

+ It is administered to adults 50 years and older

+ Requires two doses (injections) 2-6 months between doses

+ Is more than 90% effective in preventing shingles in those ≥ 50 years old, including those 70-85 years of age

+ Is not a live vaccine (It can be administered to those taking immune compromising medications)

+ Side effects may occur: soreness or redness to the injection site, headache, stomach complaints, fever


The vaccine is arriving in the week of January 8, 2018.  Call to arrange your appointment 604-251-1975   or contact us online to sign the waitlist





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Travel Safely with TravelSafe Immunization Clinic