Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lies inactive in nerve tissue near your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.
Although shingles can occur anywhere on your body, it most often appears as a single stripe of blisters that wraps around either the left or the right side of your torso. However, it can appear in other parts of the body and even affect your eyes.
For people 50 years and older, the shot-delivered vaccine Shingrix helps the immune system defend against shingles and has been shown to be 90 percent effective in clinical trials.
AARP has provided the following insurance coverage instructions for Medicare Part B patients:
- Medicare coverage for the shingles vaccine is only available if you’re enrolled in a stand-alone Part D drug plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes Part D coverage.
- Medicare requires that all Part D drug plans cover the shingles vaccine, so if you are enrolled, you shouldn’t have difficulty obtaining coverage for the vaccine. There are some exceptions:
a. If you go to a pharmacy for the shot, confirm that it’s one that’s in your plan’s pharmacy network.
b. If you are vaccinated in a doctor’s office, make sure the doctor can bill your plan directly. Some physicians’ offices cannot bill Medicare directly for this vaccine.
Due to a manufacturer shortage of the vaccine, the Medical Center has a limited quantity of Shingrix vaccine shots available. We will continue to offer the vaccine until our supply runs out. Manufacturer shortages are generally only a temporary situation.