shingles (5)Childhood chicken pox can come back to haunt you as shingles, a painful blistering rash.
There are now 2 vaccines to protect against shingles, the original Zostavax and the new one Shingrix.

  • Who should get Shingrix?

Healthy adults 50 years and older even if you had the original vaccine in the past.

  • How many injections?

Two doses of Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles. Injections are separated by 2-6 months.

  • How long does the vaccine last?

Protection stays above 85% for at least four years after vaccination.

  • Which is the better vaccine?  the old one (Zostavax) or the new one (Shingrix)?

The new one -Shingrix is the preferred vaccine over Zostavax® . Zostavax may still be used to prevent shingles in healthy adults 60 years and older.

  • Why would you ever use the old one?

If you are allergic to the new one or it is unavailable.

  • What if I already had the old vaccine?

Get the new one as well.If you had the old one recently, wait 8 weeks or longer.

  • What if I had shingles in the past?

Take the new vaccine as long as you no longer have the rash.

  • You should NOT get Shingrix if:
  • You currently have shingles
  • You have a fever or are acutely ill
  • You never had chickenpox and have a negative blood test for past chickenpox
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You are allergic to a component of the vaccine

Private health insurance and Part D Medicare plans cover the shingles vaccine. There may be a copay for the vaccine, or you may need to pay in full then get reimbursed for a certain amount.


If not, check the Medicare website

This site will indicate the status of the new cards:

  • Finished mailing
  • Mailing now
  • Mailing soon

(Hawaii cards are finished mailing)


Medicare uses the name and address you have on file with Social Security.  To change your name and/or address, visit your online my Social Security account.  Check the mailing address on the last 1099 for social security.  Even a minor difference such as a comma or an extra space or letter could cause Medicare to refrain from sending out your new card.  Medicare is being very careful about mailing addresses used for the new cards.

A Medicare customer representative can be contacted at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).


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