A shingles (zoster) vaccine was approved for use in Canada in 2008.
The shingles vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of getting shingles by 50%. It also reduces pain, including the type of pain that lingers after shingles, if you get shingles despite having been vaccinated.
The vaccine is recommended but not provided free, to people over 60. One dose of vaccine provides protection.
You can buy the shingles vaccine at some travel clinics or pharmacies for about $200. Some health insurance plans may cover the cost of the vaccine; check with your provider. If you buy the vaccine at a travel clinic, a doctor or nurse on site will be able to vaccinate you. Most pharmacists in BC are also able to immunize. If you want to be immunized by your doctor, find out if they have a supply of the vaccine.
The shingles vaccine is not the same as the chickenpox vaccine, although they are related. Children and susceptible adults in BC are eligible to receive chickenpox vaccine.
For more information about the vaccine, who should get it, the benefits and possible reactions, visit the Shingles Vaccine HealthLinkBC file.