What Is Shingles?

Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus many people had when they were children. After you recover from the chickenpox virus infection, the virus continues to live inside your body. As people age, their immunity against the virus decreases and it can return as shingles, a painful rash that most commonly appears on the chest or back, accompanied by a fever and tiredness. Some people develop painful complications.

Who Should Receive the Shingles Vaccine?

You should have the shingles vaccine if:

  • You are age 60 or older, or
  • You are a high-risk patient with an immune deficiency.

Even if you think you never had chickenpox when you were younger, if you are in one of these two categories, you should have the vaccine. This is because you may have been exposed to chickenpox when you were a child, but didn’t develop the rash.

The shingles vaccine reduces the chance of developing the illness by 50 percent. If you do develop the illness, the vaccine reduces the risk of developing chronic pain after the infection.

Where Can You Get the Shingles Vaccine?

Because the shingles vaccine needs to be frozen and thawed before it is administered, some medical offices may not stock it. US Family Health Plan has made arrangements with CVS pharmacies and other pharmacies for the vaccine to be administered by the pharmacist and billed to the Plan. Members do not need to have a prescription or referral from their primary care provider.