CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. is launching a national vaccination and education campaign for shingles, a painful nerve disease that the pharmacy chain said strikes 1 million U.S. adults annually.
The drug store retailer said Wednesday that it’s offering the shingles vaccine at more than 1,200 Rite Aid pharmacies in 31 states and the District of Columbia. The company noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the Zostavax vaccine as the only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles.
Customers can log on to www.riteaid.com/shingles to find out more information about shingles and to locate a Rite Aid store offering the shingles immunization and call its pharmacy department to check if appointments are necessary. The drug chain said nearly all insurance plans, including Medicare Part D, will cover at least some of the cost, which varies based on insurance coverage.
Rite Aid added that its pharmacists can advise customers and answer questions about shingles, including who should and should not be vaccinated. In-store signage also recommends that customers get the shingles shot for protection, and brochures available in all stores provide more information about the disease.
Rite Aid said it’s launching the campaign after conducting several regional clinics last year and encountering high demand from patients and health care providers.
Shingles is caused by viral remnants of chickenpox that lay dormant in spinal fluid for decades and can flair up later in life, causing long-term pain and inflammation. Of the million U.S. adults who get the disease each year, half are over age of 60. The disease and long-term pain that may result can leave victims bed-ridden for weeks, months or even years.
Almost one in three Americans will suffer a shingles outbreak in their lifetime, according to the CDC, which recommends that even those who have already had shingles get vaccinated to prevent further outbreaks.