‘Most excruciating pain’: Former B.C. broadcaster shares a warning about shingles

Click to play video: 'Broadcaster shares shingles warning'
Broadcaster shares shingles warning
A former Vancouver broadcaster is sharing her experience with shingles. And while the virus that lives in those who've had chicken pox is not considered life-threatening, it can be debilitating. As Jennifer Palma reports, there is a call to have the province cover the cost of the vaccine. – Dec 1, 2023

A former Vancouver broadcaster is urging people to consider getting a certain vaccine to avoid an experience she just went through.

Tamara Stanners is now recovering from shingles.

She said the first signs appeared just over a week ago with pain in her shoulder that progressed up her neck into her head and eventually onto her face.

“I have shingles. It is the worst thing I have ever gone through and I’ve had three children,” Stanner said in a TikTok video.

She said it was the most excruciating pain she had ever experienced to the point where she thought she was dying and she even wrote her children goodbye notes.

“There were no blisters. It was just the most excruciating pain I’ve ever endured.”

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Click to play video: 'Calls for province to provide free shingles vaccines'
Calls for province to provide free shingles vaccines

Stanners, 59, said she was planning on getting the shingles vaccine, Shingrix, and even talked about it with her son the day before symptoms started.

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I absolutely had chickenpox as a child,” she said. “I remember it being horrific. I also remember my children’s chickenpox being horrific. So that reminded me about how bad mine were. But otherwise, you know, I’m very healthy.

The shingles vaccine is recommended for adults 50 years of age and older, according to the B.C. government.

The vaccine is given as a series of two doses, two to six months apart and costs about $160 a dose. While it can be covered by some private health-care plans, it is not covered by the B.C. government.

Ontario, the Yukon and Prince Edward Island residents do cover the vaccine for eligible residents.

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Click to play video: 'U.S CDC Recommends New Shingles Vaccine'
U.S CDC Recommends New Shingles Vaccine

Stanners would like to see it covered in B.C.

“I think it is very difficult for some people to be able to afford, which, you know, puts a barrier in place,” she said.

According to the B.C. Health Ministry, the publicly-funded immunization program is regularly reviewed to consider changes and additions.

“As of October 2022, Pharmacare pays pharmacies a fee of $11.41 for administering non-publicly-funded vaccines such as Shingrix.”

But Stanners would like to see more movement.

“Some people get it much milder than I did,” she said. “Some people get it much worse. For some people, it sticks around forever. For some people, you know, it’s nothing. And for some people, the vaccine can even cause a reaction.

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“So you know, I’m not an expert, but I do believe that for people who want the vaccine, that it should be accessible and easy to get.”

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