P.E.I.'s chief medical officer is recommending seniors get a vaccine to prevent a painful skin condition called shingles.


The pain from shingles is difficult to treat, says Dr. Heather Morrison. (CBC)

Shingles is caused when the chicken pox virus resurfaces as people age.

The vaccine is expensive, costing about $200. It is covered by some private insurance plans but not by the province. Despite the cost, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison does recommend it.

"When you see people come in and complaining of ongoing pain after they've had shingles, it's really hard to treat that pain," said Morrison.

"If there's something you can do to prevent that, and in this case there is a vaccine available, we would recommend that vaccine for sure."

Shingles can take months or even years to get rid of.

The vaccine does not provide full protection, but can reduce the risk of getting shingles by up to 50 per cent, depending on a person's age.