Since their invention, vaccines have virtually stomped out many life-threatening diseases. Getting vaccinated is incredibly important.
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, instances of smallpox, polio, measles and many other deadly viruses in the U.S. have either been severely reduced or completely eliminated thanks to vaccines.
Recently, a new highly effective vaccine, called Shingrix, was developed to prevent shingles.
Local West River Health Services LPN and Immunization Coordinator Neva Scoular said she highly suggests that anyone over the age of 50 should get the new vaccine at their local hospital.
According to Scoular, the new shingles vaccine has a much higher rate of preventing shingles than the old vaccine.
After getting the first vaccine, patients ideally should get the second shingles booster 2-6 months later. Although it’s best to get it in that time frame, Scoular said that the booster is still effective and worth getting even after the 6 months.
“The good thing is that there is 97% effectiveness in the younger ages of 50-69. Ages 70 and above are still 91% effective,” she said.
The only issue with the new vaccine is the availability, according to Scoular.
“They tell us the shortage of vaccine can last through 2019,” said Scoular.
Still, even with the shortage, they are moving through the waiting list.
“We are getting it in increments of ten and getting them to those who are signed up,” said Scoular. “Right now there are about 25 people on the waitlist in Hettinger.”
The virus, shingles, is just a reawakened chickenpox infection and mostly found in older people. Shingles itself cannot spread from one person to another, however, someone with shingles can give another person chickenpox if they have never had it before.
Symptoms of shingles includes a band-like rash on one side of the body accompanied with severe pain that can last for months or even years.
“True shingles will always affect only one side of the body,” said Scoular. “If somebody says they have shingles, and they have a rash going on two side, it’s not shingles, it’s something else.”
Scoular said that she actually had shingles personally herself at the age of 55. She said that even though she was able to catch it early, the experience was still very painful.
“At first when it came on, I thought I had a zit on my head. The next day I had another one. It was painful. I was working with Dr. Jacobson and got put on an anti-viral right away,” said Scoular. “I had shooting pains to the eye and shooting pains to the ear. Catching it early can prevent long-term pain and they say it’s a horrible pain.”
Scoular said that the new Shingrix vaccine does come with the possibility of having a reaction.
“If you have big plans, give yourself a day or two, because you might not feel very well,” said Scoular. “They flat out say: Pain, redness, soreness, swelling, headache, muscle aches, fever shivering, fatigue. After I took the vaccine, I had it all.”
Even though Scoular had a reaction, she said that the vaccine was certainly worth taking and that Shingrix has been well received by the community.
“I would say it’s absolutely worth getting. I’ve been through shingles and all of the above; it’s absolutely worth getting the vaccine,” said Scoular. “I highly recommend it.”
Although there is still a shortage of the vaccine, Scoular said that anyone can get on the waiting list. Those who wish to learn more about shingles or the vaccine Shingrix can call West River Health Services at 701-567-4561 and ask for Neva Scoular.