How Much Does the Shingles Vaccine Cost?

Written by: Staff

Shingles, also known as Herpes Zoster,  is a result of chickenpox that has not been completely eliminated from the body.  The most common symptom of shingles is a painful and blistery skin rash, and the shingles vaccine is a way to prevent this disease.

Vaccination by theglobalpanorama, on Flickr
Vaccination” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by theglobalpanorama

How much does the shingles vaccine cost?

The cost of the shingles vaccine will depend on where you get it from and your geographical location.

On average, this vaccine is going to cost anywhere from $150 to as much as $175 per Shingrix vaccine without insurance.  Since this is deemed medically necessary, most health insurance providers will cover this vaccination and you should only be responsible for your co-pay and deductible.  Because all health insurance plans are different, be sure to check with your provider to know what you will have to be responsible for.  Even with a deductible, Consumer Reports found the average patient still paid $100 to $190 after the insurance, such as Medicare, kicked in.

Costco$197 to $215 (saw multiple reports according to research)
Rite Aid$259
Sam's Club$181

NOTE:  These are prices we had found when researching certain pharmacies/retailers and should offer a ballpark.  It’s best to call ahead of time to confirm these prices as most will offer a quote over the phone.

Shingles vaccine overview

It should be noted that the vaccine is more effective for people aged 60 and older.  The vaccine can prevent any occurrences of the disease after initial manifestation, which can result in a less painful shingles rash should it appear, but keep in mind this vaccination is not 100% effective as it only reduces the risk by about 51 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vaccine will be a one-time shot and will help prevent the shingles virus.

The vaccination is readily available at local pharmacies, doctor’s offices and health departments.

What are the extra costs?

If you receive this vaccination at your local doctor’s office, then an office examination fee may be applied on top of the vaccine, often increasing the price by more than $100.  This will all depend on the doctor office fees.

A booster shot could be required in the future; this will all depend on the patient’s situation.

Tips to know:

The new vaccine, Shingrix, is recommended for healthy adults 50 and over, according to the CDC.  Even if you received Zostavax in the past, the CDC still recommends it for anyone who had chicken pox and/or shingles.

Even though no serious side effects have been identified, common side effects associated with the vaccine can include redness, swelling, itching or headaches.

Medicare often covers this vaccination but will be considered as a prescription drug under Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.  Some of these plans, depending on which one you’re on, will pay less out of pocket than others.  Medicare B won’t cover the procedure.

The drug isn’t recommended for those who have a weakened immune system, have active tuberculosis or are trying to become pregnant.

Remember, you can’t get shingles unless you had the chicken pox already.  More than 90 percent of Americans today have had the chicken pox.

Those who have a reaction to gelatin, have AIDS, take steroids or have cancer should avoid this vaccine.

In 2018, the FDA approved the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix.  The CDC now recommends this vaccine over the previous one, Zostavax.

How can I save money?

Patients who are covered by insurance can expect a reduced cost for the vaccine.  Ask your insurance provider regarding this matter to ensure that you get the maximum coverage that they can provide.  If you don’t have a health insurance policy, check for a low-cost policy quote in your area.

Make sure that the doctor that you visit for consultation is the same doctor that will administer the vaccine.  The doctor can include the administration of the vaccine with the consultation fees, which can help you save a few hundred dollars.

For those who meet certain income requirements, many local health departments can provide this vaccination at a deeply discounted price.  If possible, talk with your local health department to see what kind of discount for which you may be eligible.  Merck Helps, a patient assistance program, can also help those who are experiencing financial hardships by offering low-cost vaccines.

The Affordable Care Act requires health plans to cover vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, including the shingles vaccine.  Although the insurance policies on the exchange will cover this vaccine, you may still incur other service charges when you had the vaccine administered.

As you can see from the table mentioned above, there will be some pricing discrepancies between the pharmacies.  Call up a few pharmacies to confirm the prices to see who’s offering the lowest rate.

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Average Reported Cost: $548.33

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Less Expensive $1 $1.5K $3K $5K $6.5K More Expensive $8k

How much did you spend?

Was it worth it?  

  1. G (Vero,  Florida) paid $0 and said:

    Your vaccine overview information is outdated. The new SHINGNIX vaccine is recommended by the CDC for 50 years and above and is around 90% effective for the first 4 years. It requires 2 shots spaced 2 to 6 months apart. It’s an inhibitor rather than a virus like the older vaccine. Both vaccines are still available but many pharmacies now carry the newer vaccine.

    Was it worth it? Yes

  2. A (Danville,  Pennsylvania) paid $1600 and said:

    Approx $1600.00 for both shots at Geisinger Medical Center

    Was it worth it? Yes

  3. Ron Allen (Tustin,  California) paid $45 and said:

    with Scan Melical

    Was it worth it? Yes

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