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Kansas health facility grant makes Shingles vaccine affordable - KOAM TV 7

Southeast Kansas health facility makes Shingles vaccine affordable

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"The pain does not go away," says Pat Lair. "It just continues no matter what position you're in, sitting, lying down, anything."

Lair is describing shingles. A painful skin rash caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox.

"I kept telling my husband it was like the work sunburn I ever had."

Most common in individuals 50 years of age and older,the rash affects 1 out of 2 people who live to age 85. Those who've had chickenpox are susceptible, as the virus remains dormant in the body.

"Sometimes things activate that virus again, a lot of time it can be a stressful situation or an illness," said Adina Sanchez, nurse practitioner.

According to Sanchez, approximately 60 percent of the cases she sees are in women.

Sparked by this concern, the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas recently applied for a grant to offer the shingles vaccine to women in need.

While women who lack insurance may qualify to receive the vaccine for free, it is costly for those who are insured.

"The vaccine itself is typically around $230," said Julie Laverack, outreach coordinator. "Most private physicians don't carry it because it is so expensive."

Laverack says the health center will use the $4000 received from the women's health fund to help insured women purchase the vaccine, covering at least 50 percent of the costs, and potentially more, based on their income.

It will also be used to spread awareness about this common virus that wreaks havoc on one's quality of life.

"I've had surgeries, I've had cancer, I've had radiation," said Lair. "Shingles was the most miserable of all of those

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