Hope Pharmasave offers shingles vaccine

Vaccine decreases the likelihood of getting shingles and reduces the severity of long-term pain if it does occur

Pharmacist Lindsay Kufta administered the first shingles vaccination at Hope Pharmasave last week to Linda VanDerMuelen. A doctor’s note is not required for the vaccine.

Hope Pharmasave is now certified to administer shingles vaccinations.

A growing number of cases in the community recently prompted pharmacist Michael McLouglin to seek out relief for his patients.

The relatively new Zostavax vaccine decreases the likelihood of getting shingles and reduces the severity of long-term pain if it does occur.

“When people do get their attacks we see how bad they get,” he said.

“Some will be so bad that they’re six months on morphine. That’s rare but possible. When you see them suffer like that and you know that it can be prevented, as a health professional you just really want to help.”

Shingles is a painful, blistering rash that can last several weeks and cause skin infections and scarring.

The nerve pain that comes from shingles can last for months, or even years, after the rash heals.

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, a virus that remains in your body but may stay inactive for years. Stress and a weakened immune system have been linked as triggers.

“One of the key things is that immunity declines with age,” said McLoughlin. “So if you can get vaccinated earlier in life, you’re going to get a better response then if you wait until you’re 80.”

People don’t require a doctor’s note to get the vaccine. Some extended medical plans will also cover the expense.

For more information on Shingles or the vaccine, visit Hope Pharmasave or set up an appointment with a pharmacist.