Does Medicare Cover Shingles and PVC20 Vaccines? blog post on

Does Medicare Cover Shingles and PVC20 Vaccines?

Does Medicare Cover Shingles and PVC20 Vaccines?

Vaccinations are a crucial part of preventive healthcare, especially for older adults. They help protect against severe illnesses that can complicate aging in place. Understanding Medicare coverage for vaccines can help you make informed decisions about your healthcare. This article will focus on whether Medicare covers the shingles and PVC20 (Pneumococcal Conjugate) vaccines.

Medicare Coverage for Shingles Vaccine

What is the Shingles Vaccine? The shingles vaccine, known as Shingrix, is recommended for adults aged 50 and older to prevent shingles and its complications, such as postherpetic neuralgia. Shingrix is administered in two doses, given two to six months apart.

Medicare Coverage for Shingrix Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan, covers the shingles vaccine. However, the extent of the coverage can vary depending on your specific Part D plan. Here are some key points:

  • Cost Sharing: While Medicare Part D covers the shingles vaccine, you may still have to pay a copayment, coinsurance, or deductible, depending on your plan.
  • Pharmacy or Doctor's Office: The vaccine is usually administered at a pharmacy or your doctor's office. It's important to ensure that the provider administering the vaccine is within your plan's network to minimize out-of-pocket costs.
  • Reimbursement: Some Part D plans may require you to pay for the vaccine upfront and then submit a claim for reimbursement. Check with your plan provider for details.

Medicare Coverage for PVC20 Vaccine

What is the PVC20 Vaccine? The PVC20 vaccine protects against 20 types of pneumococcal bacteria that can cause pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections. It is recommended for all adults aged 65 and older and for adults aged 19 to 64 with certain medical conditions or risk factors.

Medicare Coverage for PVC20 Medicare Part B covers the PVC20 vaccine, which means it is covered as part of your standard Medicare benefits. Here's what you need to know:

  • Cost to You: The PVC20 vaccine is fully covered under Medicare Part B, so you should have no out-of-pocket costs if you receive the vaccine from a Medicare-enrolled provider.
  • Administration: The vaccine can be administered at your doctor's office, clinic, or hospital. Ensure that the provider is enrolled in Medicare to avoid any costs.
  • Frequency: Medicare Part B covers different pneumococcal vaccines, and you may need more than one type depending on your health status and previous vaccinations. Consult your healthcare provider to determine your specific needs.

How to Maximize Your Medicare Benefits

1. Verify Coverage: Before getting vaccinated, check with your Medicare plan provider to confirm coverage details and ensure the provider is in-network.

2. Plan Ahead: Schedule your vaccinations in advance to ensure you receive them on time and avoid potential health risks.

3. Use Medicare Resources: Utilize Medicare's online resources or contact their helpline for detailed information about vaccine coverage and any changes to your plan.

4. Consult Your Doctor: Your healthcare provider can help you understand which vaccines you need based on your health history and risk factors.


Understanding Medicare coverage for vaccines like Shingrix and PVC20 is essential for making informed healthcare decisions. Medicare Part D covers the shingles vaccine, though costs can vary based on your plan. Medicare Part B covers the PVC20 vaccine with no out-of-pocket expenses when administered by a Medicare-enrolled provider.  Staying up to date with all recommended vaccinations, including the upcoming RSV vaccine, COVID vaccine, flu vaccine, and others, is a crucial part of a comprehensive health plan for older adults. For more on vaccines for older adults check out the resources at the National Institute on Aging.

In my experience, being proactive about vaccinations and understanding your Medicare benefits can significantly enhance your health and quality of life. For more detailed guidance, visit or consult with your healthcare provider to ensure you are getting the most out of your Medicare coverage.

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Brandy Archie, OTD, OTR/L, CLIPP

Dr. Archie received her doctorate in occupational therapy from Creighton University. She is a certified Living in Place Professional with past certifications in low vision therapy, brain injury and driving rehabilitation.  Dr. Archie has over 15 years of experience in home health and elder focused practice settings which led her to start AskSAMIE, a curated marketplace to make aging in place possible for anyone, anywhere! Answer some questions about the problems the person is having and then a personalized cart of adaptive equipment and resources is provided.

She's a wife, mother of 3 and a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs fan! Connect with her on Linked In or by email anytime.

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