Shingles vaccination

Reducing the number of cases, one vaccine at a time

Did you know that nearly one in three Canadians will suffer from the shingles in one form or another during their lives? This reactivation of the virus that causes the chicken pox, which often occurs as of the age of 50, is characterized by a skin rash that can be horribly painful. Thankfully, a vaccine does exist.

A little vaccine that goes a long way in terms of peace of mind

Worried about the shingles? Your pharmacist can assess you, prescribe and even administer the shingles vaccine. That means one less doctor’s visit for you!

Plus, if you’re over 80 or are immunocompromised, the vaccine will be free of charge for you, courtesy of the Quebec government.

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An inactivated vaccine

To prevent inconveniences and possible complications related to the shingles, we administer the Shingrix vaccine. It is made up of certain parts of the virus and is 97% effective in preventing the shingles. Two doses taken within 2 to 12 months are required to ensure optimal protection. This vaccine’s efficacy does not diminish with age, and the protection it affords lasts at least 10 years (after the 2nd dose).

Certain contraindications may exist in the following patients:

  • Immunodeficient individuals
  • Individuals having recently taken or currently taking immunosuppressive medications
  • Individuals suffering from untreated tuberculosis
  • Pregnant women – Pregnancy should be avoided during the three months following vaccine administration

Possible side effects

The majority of reactions are benign and short-lived: pain at the site of injection, fatigue and muscle pain. Headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting may occur in certain cases. One thing is certain: serious complications are highly unlikely. In case of any doubt, speak with your pharmacist. 

A few post-immunization tips: 

  • Pain? Redness? Swelling? Apply a cold, humid compress at the area of injection.
  • If need be, take fever or headache medication.
  • Listen to your body. If symptoms persist for longer than 48 hours or worsen instead of improving — or if side effects seem severe or unusual, consult a health professional.

A single appointment, several vaccines

Other vaccines are also available at pharmacies, without a doctor’s prescription. Speak with your pharmacist to find out whether you can combine certain doses in a single appointment:

  • Flu vaccine
  • COVID-19 vaccine
  • Tetanus vaccine
  • Hepatitis vaccine
  • Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Vaccines against malaria, traveller’s diarrhea or certain exotic illnesses (travel health). 

Please note that vaccine availability is subject to change and may vary from one pharmacy to another.

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