While much of the world looks on worriedly at the Coronavirus outbreak, Cowichan Bay’s S. L. McKenna was busy promoting the merits of the shingles vaccine in a letter to the Citizen published online on March 9.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash and, at its worst, can lead to blindness, facial paralysis, brain inflammation and chronic pain. It comes from the varicella zoster virus — the same one that causes chicken pox. Anyone who has had chicken pox and is over 50, under a lot of stress, or has a weakened immune system is particularly at risk.
McKenna’s letter urging people to get vaccinated, posted to the Citizen’s Facebook page on March 10, quickly became a point of debate with readers.
“Many don’t appreciate how serious shingles is, how truly debilitating it can be especially for older people. Ask anyone who has had it,” wrote McKenna in her letter.
Joan Blackstaffe knows.
“Yes, had shingles once and do not want it again!” she wrote.
“Had Shingles have you? Know anyone who has? Have not heard one person yet that said they would like to go through it again. It is nasty and the pain can last for months. Covid-19 is not the only problem in our lives,” added Leslie Phillips Lundgren.
“I’ve had shingles twice and I’m just over 50. Not fun, my friends,” noted Kimberley Gee.
The consensus seemed to be that it’s a terrible malady but some said the price puts the vaccine out of reach.
Lisa Stevenson said she’s suffered from shingles not once but twice.
“I’ve had shingles twice now last year and the last one left my hip sore for months. The vaccine is not covered and with living pay to pay I really can’t afford to get it,” she said.
Stevenson wasn’t the only one.
“A couple hundred bucks it would cost. Not a priority for me,” said Lia Marie Versavel.
Others felt differently, however, saying the benefit was greater than the cost.
“On my 50th birthday I bought myself the shingles vaccine and on my 53rd birthday the new even more effective vaccine was available and I paid the $300+ total for the two required shots,” wrote Randy Kits. “Shingles seems to hit a lot of folks so I’m hoping I’m good to go. Cheap investment for my health!!”
Darlene Harris agreed the vaccine is a good idea, noting that “if it was covered I wouldn’t think twice.”