Shingles - CARP

Older couple wearing masks and walking in forest during Autumn

Shingles is the name commonly used for herpes zoster, an infection that shows up as a painful skin rash with blisters, usually on part of one side of the body (left or right), often in a strip. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus.

One in three Canadians will get shingles in their lifetime, and it can lead to loss of vision or debilitating nerve pain.

Like the flu and pneumonia, shingles affects older people worst—2/3 of all shingles cases occur in adults over age 50.

  • Shingles can affect anyone who has not had the chickenpox vaccine, including people who had chickenpox as a child
  • There are about 130,000 cases in Canada every year, with nearly 1 in 3 people developing shingles in their lifetime
  • 10% of cases lead to hospitalization
  • Shingles causes long lasting pain, insomnia and can impact your central nervous system
  • Research shows the newer vaccine has an effectiveness of over 90%

The newer shingles vaccine (Shingrix) released in 2017 is proven 90% effective, making it the best protection option for older people. 

CARP has been pushing provincial/territorial governments to fully fund this newer vaccine for seniors and make it easily accessible through doctor’s offices, pharmacies and other convenient locations.

CARP is glad that Shingles vaccines are now available in Ontario for seniors 65-70 years old.

Other provinces  have been frustratingly slow to respond to the growing calls for the newer vaccine to be made freely available, leaving seniors to pay for the vaccine themselves. 

We’ll keep demanding that this best-in-class shingles vaccine be easily available free of charge to older adults across the country. It’s what seniors deserve.

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