Shingles vaccine clinics will be held in March for Newton residents ages 60 and up. The Health & Human Services Department is taking appointments beginning March 3. Check with your primary care provider about whether the shingles vaccine is right for you, and then call 617-796-1420 to make your appointment. Insurance information requested, not required.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful blistering skin rash caused by the virus responsible for chickenpox. The rash usually appears on one side of the face or body and lasts from two to four weeks. Its main symptom is pain, which can be severe. Other symptoms can include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach. A painful condition lasting well beyond the rash is known as post-herpetic neuralgia and occurs in about 1 in 5 people with shingles.
Shingles is more common in older people. At least 1 million people a year in the United States get shingles. Shingles is not transmitted person-to-person and can only occur in people who have had chickenpox. The chickenpox virus stays in the body and can cause shingles later in life.
When the vaccine was tested, it reduced the risk of shingles by 50 percent. It can also reduce pain in people who still get shingles. The shingles vaccine is given once in a lifetime, at present.
Those with weakened immune systems should not get the vaccine. People on certain medications should not get the vaccine. It is important to check with your primary care provider to make sure the vaccine is appropriate for you.
For more information or to make an appointment to receive the vaccine, call the Health Department 617-796-1420.