Shingles Vaccine

Does Medicare Cover the Shingles Vaccine?

Beginning January 2023, Part D plans must include most commercially available vaccines on their formularies. This includes the vaccine for shingles. The only exceptions are flu, pneumonia, hepatitis B, and COVID-19 vaccinations. These vaccines are covered by Medicare Part B.  All Medicare-covered vaccines should be free to you.

Medicare Part D (Your Prescription Drug Plan) will generally cover the vaccination and the administration of  the vaccine by an appropriate medical provider.  In some cases, you may receive your shingles vaccination at your pharmacy.  If you have questions about which pharmacies are included in your plan’s network, contact your Medicare prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage prescription drug plan for more information.

Who Can Get Shingles?

If you have ever had chickenpox, you can get shingles.  The older you are, the more at risk you are of getting the shingles. Many health care providers recommend people on Medicare get the shingle vaccine. According to the CDC, about 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime. An estimated 1 million people get shingles each year in United States.

What is Shingles?

Shingles is a rash caused by the chickpox virus reactivating.  The medical name for the virus is Herpes Zoster. Shingles affects the nerves, causing it to be very painful.  In addition to the pain, blisters also form. Recovery tends to take anywhere from two to six weeks.

Who Should Get the Shingles Vaccine?

The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get the shingles (Shingrix) vaccine. It is the only way to protect against the virus.  The vaccine is two doses that are separated by 2 to 6 months.  Your medical provider or pharmacist can give the Shingrix shot.  You will receive the vaccine in your upper arm.  According to the CDC, the two doses are very  effective at preventing shingles.

Who Should NOT Get the Shingles Vaccine?

According to the CDC you should NOT get the vaccine if:

  • have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or after a dose of Shingrix
  • tested negative for immunity to varicella zoster virus. If you test negative, you should get chickenpox vaccine.
  • currently have shingles
  • currently are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should wait to get Shingrix

How to Find a Provider?

The shingles vaccine (Shingrix) is available in doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Finding a doctor’s office or pharmacy is easy.  Just click here to find a pharmacy or doctor near you for a Shingrix shot.