Can Americans get vaccinated in France?
September 2, 2016 1:10 PM   Subscribe

I'm over 60 and have been thinking about getting a shingles vaccine shot, but it's pretty pricey (well over $200). I'll be traveling to France soon, though, and I'm wondering if it's possible to get the vaccine there even if one is a tourist, and just pay for it. I suspect it would be considerably cheaper in the USA even if I had to pay the full cost. Thanks for any current advice on this. ( )
posted by Tom Blees to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
Yes, of course it's possible! (I'm an epidemiologist and have received multiple vaccinations while abroad)

You'll have to call a medical facility to ask about payment. Here's a good place to start.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:09 PM on September 2, 2016

Of course! Here will be your costs (the great thing about socialized medicine is all you have to do is look it up):
- GP visit will put you back 23 euros (no zeros missing, that's twenty-three euros)
- le vaccin contre le zona is 127.24 euros.

So basically 150 euros all told. Be sure to tell the GP when you make the appointment that it will be for that vaccination, and give them your age, simply because it will be all the more understandable. If you tell them you're American they'll be like, "Ohhhhhh!! No worries!"
posted by fraula at 2:36 PM on September 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

In case you are paying so much in the US because you are going to a dr to get it, it is supposedly $190 at Walgreens. If you don't have Walgreens in your area, you could check other pharmacies as well.
posted by freezer cake at 2:53 PM on September 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Depending on how soon you're going, there may be two vaccine options, of which one is new (about to file for licensure in US, EU, and Japan) and apparently much more efficacious. So maybe keep an eye out for news on that. In any event, it seems likely to me (who does not write the CDC recommendations and has no inside info on this) that if you received the existing vaccine this fall in France, that probably wouldn't prevent you from getting the newer one in the US when available.

If you're not yet on Medicare, double check with your insurer about the cost to you of getting vaccinated - most private plans have better coverage than this.
posted by lakeroon at 8:47 PM on September 2, 2016

You may be eligible for the Merck Vaccine Patient Assistance Program if you reside in the United States and are age 50 or older AND you have no health insurance coverage AND you have an annual household income less than:
$47,520 or less for individuals
$64,080 or less for couples
$97,200 or less for a family of 4.

If you have special circumstances of financial/medical hardship, Merck sometimes makes exceptions.

You do not have to be a US citizen. Legal residents of the United States, including US Territories, are also eligible.
posted by Joleta at 8:49 PM on September 2, 2016

Wow, thanks for all the info, and especially for that link to the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix. The current vaccine is only very marginally effective, but it looks like Shingrix is really good. It should be approved sometime in 2017. I'm definitely going to wait for it.
posted by Tom Blees at 1:43 PM on September 3, 2016

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