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Health departments offering new shingles vaccine

Health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties are now offering Shingrix, a new vaccine to help protect against shingles.

The previous vaccine for shingles, Zostavax, was recommended for those 60 and older. According to the CDC, Shingrix is recommended for healthy adults 50 and older even if they have previously had shingles, received Zostavax or are unsure if they have had chickenpox.

“Being able to offer the Shingrix vaccine means that we can protect even more people against shingles,” said Coastal Health District Immunization Coordinator Paige Lightsey, R.N. “When we can offer a vaccine that provides even more coverage against a disease, it’s a good day in public health.”

Shingles is a painful rash that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingrix also protects against postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), severe pain that can occur at the site of the shingles rash even after the rash clears up.

Shingrix is given in two doses separated by two to six months. According to the CDC, two doses of Shingrix is more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and PHN.

About one in every three people in the United States will get shingles. The risk of shingles increases as you get older. There is no maximum age for getting the Shingrix vaccine.

For more information on the Shingrix vaccine, go to cdc.gov.