Demand for the shingles vaccine is on the rise in Sudbury, as people try to prevent the agonizing rash.
Health officials say people are more vulnerable to shingles as they age — but they have to be able to afford protection, which rings in at $173 per shot at the Sudbury and District Health Unit.
The manager of the vaccine program at the Health Unit said, in the first six months of this year alone, 400 people paid for the shots at the health unit, which is a record number. Those numbers don't include those who go to their doctor for the vaccine.
Lisa Schell said, if people have had chicken pox, they are susceptible to getting shingles later in life.
"Symptoms of shingles [are] a throbbing, stabbing sharp pain, unusual tingling, numbness, significant amount of tingling, wherever the shingles patch is on the body, [it’s] painful to the touch," she said.
'Government should reconsider'
Because older people are more vulnerable to the virus, the health unit recommends the vaccine for people who are 50 years of age and older.
A Sudbury researcher who specializes in vaccines says so many people benefit from this vaccine that OHIP should pay.
"It prevents a condition that can ruin the quality of life of senior citizens," Dr. Francisco Diaz-Mitoma said. "So I think, in the future, the government should reconsider."
Diaz-Mitoma said he believes the government will eventually decide to cover the cost of the vaccine, as the population ages and there are more seniors.