Free shingles vaccine for Island seniors in January 2022

Island seniors will be able to receive the free Shingrix™ vaccine, to prevent shingles, beginning January 2022.

The free Shingrix™ vaccine (two doses) will be available to Islanders aged 65 years and over at community pharmacies across Prince Edward Island. The cost is being covered by the provincial government.  

“In PEI there are over 32,000 people aged 65 and over at risk for developing shingles, and older adults are at a higher risk of experiencing serious outcomes, like debilitating nerve pain. It is important that Island seniors have access to the Shingrix™ vaccine to protect themselves against shingles and that they are able to do so without cost being a barrier.”

- Health and Wellness Minister Ernie Hudson

Both the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and PEI’s Chief Public Health Office recommend Shingrix™ as the preferred vaccine for adults in preventing shingles disease.

“Shingrix is a two-dose vaccine given within two to six months apart for optimal protection against shingles.  It can provide a high level of protection from developing shingles,” said Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison. “The risk of developing shingles increases as an individual ages, making the availability of Shingrix an important support for Island seniors. This is also an important addition to our adult immunization program.”

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person has chickenpox, the virus lies inactive inside them, and years later the virus may reactivate as shingles.  It is estimated that 30 per cent of adults will develop shingles in their lifetime and 10 per cent will develop lingering and debilitating nerve pain.

"Pharmacists in the community are well positioned to provide the vaccination to prevent shingles, which affects approximately one in three people," said Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the PEI Pharmacists Association. "Beginning in January 2022, eligible Islanders can check with their pharmacist to schedule an appointment.”

The provincial government’s 2021-2022 operating budget includes $1.5 million for the shingles vaccine. 

Island seniors who are interested in receiving Shingrix™ should speak with their local pharmacist about getting vaccinated in 2022. 

Media contact:
Samantha Hughes
Senior Communications Officer
Health and Wellness
(902) 368-5610

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