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Letter: Vaccine for shingles should be free

This is a dreadful, painful and debilitationg conditon

Vaccine for shingles should be free

The vaccine for hideous shingles illness should be free for seniors.

One in five people who get shingles may have severe pain that lasts months to years after the rash has cleared. This is known as post-herpetic neuralgia. An estimated 130,000 Canadians get shingles every year and the older you are, the more likely you are to get it and to suffer severe health effects.

Shingles is a brutally painful infection that anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of getting. It is caused by the same virus as chickenpox, which can lie dormant for years and then reactivate in the form of shingles. Governments need to treat vaccine coverage for seniors as a public health issue.

Shingrix is highly effective in adults 50 years of age and older and was approved by Health Canada in 2018. The ministry reviews new vaccines in the context of its publicly funded immunization program. Cost and scientific evidence are among the factors considered. Recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization on preferred vaccines are also taken into account and NACI hasn’t yet weighed in on Shingrix.

Covering the cost for those over 50 years of age is worth the government’s funding given the financial burden shingles can have on individuals, their families, and the health care system, in addition to the physical pain people suffer. Those who get shingles might miss work, and can have trouble carrying out daily functions and caring for their loved ones, including spouses or children.

Write your MP Alistair McGregor and advocate for coverage for Shingrix in older adults in B.C. This is a dreadful, painful and debilitationg conditon.

Alison Sherwood

Maple Bay

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