County Health Dept. Offers Free Shingles Vaccine

PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department is providing the shingles vaccine free of charge for a limited time to people age 60 and older that are uninsured, have private insurance with no vaccine coverage or have Medicare without Part D.

The free vaccine offer is made possible by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which has supplied 500 doses of the shingles vaccine at no cost.

“This is an excellent opportunity for people to get this vaccine free of charge,” said Acting Health Director Dr. Ron Voorhees.

The vaccine is available while supplies last at the County Health Department’s vaccination clinic at 3441 Forbes Avenue in Oakland.  The clinic is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Wednesdays, from 1 to 8 p.m., with free parking available after 4:30 p.m. in the lot behind 3333 Forbes Avenue.  No appointment is necessary.

Shingles is a painful skin rash, often with blisters, that is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.  Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles because the virus remains in the nerve cells of the body after chickenpox goes away and can reappear many years later causing shingles.

People 60 and older account for about half of all shingles cases that occur each year and are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine, regardless of whether they recall having had chickenpox earlier in life because studies show 99 percent of those 40 and older actually have had chickenpox.

People who have already had shingles can still receive the shingles vaccine to prevent future occurrences of the disease.  The vaccine reduces the risk of shingles by more than 50 percent and the risk of pain after the rash by 67 percent.

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