Good news for seniors in Ontario – as of September 15th, the shingles vaccine will now be offered for free to adults between the ages of 65 and 70.

This vaccine, which would normally set you back about $170, will reduce the likelihood of older adults contracting this painful infection. If you or a family member is eligible, please contact your family doctor or health practitioner.

Here are some “quick facts” provided by the Government of Ontario:

  • Approximately 850,000 seniors between the ages of 65 and 70 years will be eligible to receive the publicly funded shingles vaccine.
  • During the 2016 year only, any Ontarian who was born in 1945 can receive the vaccine up to December 31, 2016 to ensure that individuals close to the upper age eligibility cut-off have sufficient time to get vaccinated.
    Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada to date that is introducing the shingles vaccine as part of its publicly funded immunization program.
  • Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles creates painful skin rashes with blisters, usually on one side of the body, often in a strip. The best protection from shingles is immunization.
  • The most frequent complication of shingles is post-herpetic neuralgia which is prolonged and often debilitating pain.
  • Ontario’s health care budget has increased from $47.6 billion in 2012-13 to a total of $51.8 billion in 2016-17.
  • This year’s $51.8 billion investment in health care is a 2.1 per cent increase over last year – greater than the rate of inflation.

For more information, check out the official news release from the Government of Ontario.