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      Fight against Shingles now starts at Health Department

      If you plan to get vaccinated, call the health department ahead of time to make sure they have enough of the vaccine

      The Centers for Disease Control is recommending everyone age 60 and above to get the shingles vaccine if you've had the chicken pox.

      Shingles is a severe nerve pain that comes with a rash on the skin and can also cause fever, and sometimes paralysis and loss of hearing.

      Eugene Clark is a retired doctor and got the vaccine after suffering from shingles years ago.

      It's a deep hurt that you really can't define. It's not sore, event the rash isn't that bad, but that deep pain can be awful. And for some people it can last forever, says Clark.

      The vaccine is available at the Dougherty County Health Department at 1710 South Slappey Boulevard.

      You can contact them at 229-430-6200.

      From a press release issued by the Southwest Georgia Public Health District:A vaccine recommended for people 60 and older to prevent shingles is now available at Dougherty County Health Department.The older a person is, the more severe the effects of shingles typically are, Southwest Health District Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant said. The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend adults 60 years and older get vaccinated against shingles. There is no maximum age for getting the shingles vaccination.A single dose of Zostavax vaccine provides protection against shingles, a painful rash caused when inactive chickenpox virus awakens in the body of someone who once had the disease. Complications can include hearing or vision loss, scarring, muscle weakness, partial paralysis and long-term nerve pain, Grant said.Call the Health Department if you are interested in getting Zostavax to discuss Medicare Part D reimbursement, since the amount of cost-sharing for the vaccine varies, Dougherty County Health Department Manager Vamella Lovett said. Other payment options, including Medicaid and some private insurance, are also available.Calling ahead is also a good idea to ensure the vaccine is available when you come in and that it is appropriate for you, she said.Zostavax should not be administered to persons with compromised immune systems due to disease or cancer treatment with radiation or chemotherapy. Others who should not receive the vaccine include pregnant women and those who have had a reaction to any component of the vaccine, including gelatin and neomycin.Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive the shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease, Grant said. No serious problems have been identified with the shingles vaccine. It does not include thimerosal, a preservative containing mercury.The most common side effects include redness, soreness, swelling or itching at the shot site, and headache. There is no documentation of a person getting chickenpox from someone who has received the shingles vaccine, which contains the varicella zoster virus.For more information about the shingles vaccine, contact the Dougherty County Health Department or go to www.cdc.gov.