What Vaccines Do I Need if I’m 50 or older


            Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox you had in previous years. The risk of shingles increases as we get older.

            Shingles can cause severe blisters, pain & burning on the torso, limbs or face. For 1 in 5 people with shingles the long term nerve pain can go on for months or years. This is called   post-herpetic neuralgia.

Shingrix provides 97% protection in the 50 – 69 age group and 91% protection in the over 70 age group. Shingrix will protect against shingles for at least 10 years.

            Shingrix causes pain at the injection site & a small number of people report fever & feeling unwell for 2-3 days.

            Shingrix may be given after an episode of shingles but wait until the lesions heal. Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends waiting one year after a shingles episode to administer Shingrix.

            Cost: 2 doses, 2-6 months apart, $160 per dose. Many extended health plans pay for the vaccine.


Prevnar – 20

            Prevnar -20 protects against pneumococcal disease. (Pneumonia, meningitis and blood infections) & replaces Prevnar -13 & Pneumovax -23.

            The people most at risk of complications from this infection are children, people ≥ 65 & those with certain medical conditions:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Cardiac or lung disease
  • Diabetes
  • HIV infection
  • People without a spleen
  • Immunocompromised- either through medication or illness
  • People who have received a solid organ or stem cell transplant
  • Malignant neoplasms including leukemia and lymphoma

Anyone who has had Prevnar – 13 and/or Pneumovax – 23 should receive Prevnar -20 a year or more after last pneumococcal vaccine.

Cost: $150, the duration of protection is expected to be long but current data is only available to 5 years.


Fluzone- High Dose

As people age, they become more susceptible to influenza-related complications due to immunosenescence, a natural and progressive weakening of the immune system over time. As a result, seniors are less responsive to standard dose influenza vaccine. This is the rationale for the development of Fluzone High-Dose 

Fluzone High-Dose contains 4 times the antigen of a standard dose influenza vaccine (60μg vs 15μg per dose) & is 24% more efficacious than the regular flu vaccine.

It is indicated for patients 65 years of age and older but may be safely given to anyone 50 & older.

Cost: $85