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Shingles Vaccine

If I Have a Cold, Can I Get the Shingles Vaccine?

If you have a minor illness like a cold, it's OK to get the shingles vaccine. But if you are moderately or severely ill, it's best to wait until you recover to get the shingles vaccine.

Are There Side Effects With the Shingles Vaccine?

Similar to a flu shot, the shingles vaccine is given in the back of the upper arm. Side effects of the shingles vaccine may include redness, soreness, swelling, or itching at the site of the injection. Less common side effects include headache.

Will Medicare or my Health Insurance Pay for the Shingles Vaccine?

While details are still coming in, the shingles vaccine is anticipated for coverage (reimbursement) under Medicare Part D program, but check ahead to make sure. Also, check with your health insurance provider to see if they reimburse for the shingles vaccine. Some will pay for it after 50, and others at age 60.

Should I Get the Shingles Vaccine if I've Already Had Shingles?

According to the CDC, the shingles vaccine should be given regardless of a history of shingles. Because shingles can recur, the shingles vaccine may give protection from having shingles again.

Can I Get the Shingles Vaccine if I'm Under 50?

Some doctors may offer "off-label" shingles vaccines to younger patients in hopes of providing earlier protection against shingles. "Off-label" is a legal practice and refers to drugs that are used in ways that have not been approved by the FDA. Keep in mind that researchers still don't know how long immunity lasts with the shingles vaccine. More research, though, will determine whether a booster shot will be needed at some point later on.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on October 07, 2012

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