Shingrix vaccine available at some VA clinics now

My old Marine requested and received his first Shingrix (Zoster Vaccine Recombinant, Adjuvanted) shot, the new vaccine for shingles, at the VA Burlington Clinic in Vermont.  It’s injected into a muscle so expect some soreness. Two shots are needed.

Shingrix is approved to prevent shingles in people 50 years and older (Link). Medicare does not cover the cost under Part A or B (Link). Coverage with Part D’s or a Medicare Advantage Plan’s will vary depending on insurer.   Private insurance costs vary widely.  Medicaid coverage varies by state.

The cost for the shots are high.  GoodRx (Link) has a search engine that allows users to check cash pharmacy prices by zip code and plan and offer coupons.  Blink Health is another search engine/discount program (LINK).

(No or Scrooge insurance?  There are a few options.  GlaxoSmtihKline Patient Assistance Program (Link) is worth investigating.

The CDC has a contract to buy Shingrix for health programs it supports–$102.19 per vial.

shingrix cdc

Click to go to CDC “Prices last reviewed/updated: May 1, 2018 Note: The CDC Vaccine Price Lists posted on this website provide current vaccine contract prices and list the private sector vaccine prices for general information. Contract prices are those for CDC vaccine contracts that are established for the purchase of vaccines by immunization programs that receive CDC immunization grant funds (i.e., state health departments, certain large city immunization projects, and certain current and former U.S. territories). Private providers and private citizens cannot directly purchase vaccines through CDC contracts. Private sector prices are those reported by vaccine manufacturers annually to CDC.”


Not all veterans are allowed to enroll in VA health care and many do not have access to VA clinics.  The Federal Community Health Centers can help veterans and everyone receive primary health care on an income-based sliding scale.  To search for a center by zip code go to:

To check out current VA income and co-pay requirements, go to:

For general advice, Consumer Reports:

For a shingles overview, see Mayo article:

If you have any $ tips to share, please comment because people are reporting bills of $300 and up.  The VA is expecting shipping delays due to high demand.  I’m wondering if the VA is doing regional outreach to older veterans or do they have to request the vaccine?

Update:  Under Obamacare (ACA), this may have to be covered by insurance within a year of a CDC MMWR recommendation–which was published 1/26/18.  Some companies have already added it to their coverage. (LINK)


Posted in All about Veterans, General Messages, Guest authors, Medical News, Uncategorized, VA Health Care, vA news | 4 Comments

Five stunning DOD photos by future vets


Presented are one recent image from the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Army and Marines.  They each show great artistry in the way they portray the very different scenes they have captured.  

The curvy Raptor is almost Rubenesque–one can’t ignore it even though the background colors merge with the metal.   The Colorado training shot is Impressionistic but also has a colorful Sci-Fi glow.  Is this landscape and sky really Earth’s?

The Coast Guard rescue is the Realism style–a job is done with no drama on their  part.  Someone has lost a very expensive boat but not their lives. The Marine portrait is a fine example of  how lighting and composition can be used to show a person’s mood.  The last Naval scene is somber, sensitive and respectful in its depiction of a burial-at-sea.   

The photographs have a crisp cinematic look but unlike many films today, they are not computer-generated–they are the real deal.  They show human technological power and nature’s power on display yet the possibility of danger, at any moment, is implied.  There are many moving photos on the DOD Flickr account to marvel at.  Click any of these images to see bigger, more detailed versions, or to discover more by scrolling left or right.


“A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 95th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, flies over Iraq March 5, 2018. The F-22 is an air superiority fighter that incorporates the latest technological advances in reduced observables, avionics, engine performance and aerodynamic design. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Colton Elliott)” PD image

“U.S. Army M1A2 Abrams tanks with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division move into position for their night iteration during gunnery operations at Fort Carson, Colorado, March 19, 2018. Soldiers battled fog, flurries, and freezing temperatures to compete for ‘Top Gun’ while demonstrating their skills. Gunnery tables evaluate the crew on engaging moving and stationary targets using all vehicle weapon systems. Weighing nearly 68 short tons, the M1A2 Abrams Battle Tank is one of the heaviest main battle tanks in service. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Micah Merrill) ” PD image.

“A U.S. Coast Guard small boat crew assigned to the USCGC Robert Yered (WPC 1104) arrives on scene with the sinking vessel La Bella, April 28, 2018 approximately 13 miles northwest of Cat Cays, Bahamas. The Coast Guardsmen rescued two people who remained aboard the La Bella attempting to make it back to Cat Cay. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Galan) “ PD image

“JORDAN (April 30, 2018) . U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Dylan Mangas, a maintenance chief assigned to Fox Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, guides an AAV-P7/A1 assault amphibious vehicle into the well deck of the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) following the conclusion of Eager Lion 2018 April 30, 2018, off Jordan. Eager Lion is a major training event that provides U.S. forces and Jordan Armed Forces the opportunity to improve their collective ability to plan and operate in a coalition-type environment. (U.S Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Austin Livingston)


“U.S. Navy Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Nathan J. Nelson, right, renders honors after committing cremains to the sea during a burial-at-sea ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) in the Atlantic Ocean March 31, 2018. The ship was underway conducting sustainment exercises to maintain carrier readiness. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Hank Gettys) ” PD image.

Posted in Food for the soul, Food for thought, Future Veterans, General Messages, Guest authors | Tagged | 1 Comment


I apologize for such short notice. Blame it on a balky CITRIX VBMS connection. Trust ol’ VA to buy the Cheapo Depot™ computer program to underpin a huge national VBMS computer linking VACO to its 56 minions scattered across the fruited plain (not including the Appeal Resolution Center (ARC) formerly the Appeals Management Center (AMC)). But wait. Wouldn’t Cheeseville Evidence Intake Center surely be the 58th? Getting that fancy computer to mate to PIES, CAPRI, Virtual VA, VistA and a hoard of other computers like MAP 5 and VACOLS and you have the makings of a pretty cool fustercluck. Trust me. VBMS is like the old dial-up speed. Paint dries faster.         

Here’s a great intro brief to what we’re talking about (ILP).

The call in number for the 1600 PST (L) Show tonight is

347-237-4819 (push #1 to talk)

We’re gonna talk about ILP and VA and maybe IPAs. Who knows? Call in and ask about shit.

Posted in Independent Living Program, SVR Radio on, VA Agents, VA Medical Mysteries Explained | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Bombs in your Back Yard” series by ProPublica

Frank has forwarded information to us about ProPublica’s series, “Bombs in Our Backyards.” (LINK)  This work sheds light on the dangerous environmental practices the DOD has been dealing with.  

On May 7, 2018, ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten writes: Get an Inside Look at the Department of Defense’s Struggle to Fix Pollution at More Than 39,000 Sites (LINK)

“For the first time, the Pentagon’s internal database used to track its environmental problems is available to the public.”

The interactive, searchable, zoomable, ProPublica maps may aid claimants support their cases (LINK)


For example, in 2017,

Veterans Law Judge (BVA), Michael Lane, remanded a case of a veteran who believes his illnesses were caused by exposure to dioxins at the former Norton Air Force Base (1942-1994).

He instructed (LINK to Citation Nr: 1802858):

“The AOJ should undertake appropriate development to attempt to corroborate the Veteran’s alleged exposure to chemicals, to include dioxin and/or dioxin-contaminated soil, while stationed at Norton AFB between November 1967 and September 1971. The AOJ should specifically consider the Veteran’s contentions he was exposed while performing duties as a security police augmentee, to include guard duty.”

Norton Air Force Base is now San Bernardino International Airport Authority (LINK).

The ProPublica map breaks down the 204 remediation activities there–just click & scroll:

Looking at the dates, in the interest of the backlog crisis and justice, why couldn’t a staffer at the Board pick up the phone or email agency’s (CDC, EPA, etc..) who could easily provide the information?   Or at the San Diego RO?  Or the veteran’s attorney?

“…These matters come before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a January 2009 rating decision. These matters were remanded by the Board in December 2016… …In March 2017, the Veteran testified at a videoconference hearing before the undersigned Veterans Law Judge.
The decision was 1/12/18.

Norton AFB did not get on the Superfund site overnight (LINK).

Click to see free full text for basic information from AF, not detailed scientific studies.

An official document from 1990 indicates that closure studies had been in the works for years prior to publication. (LINK)

I think part of the value to toxin-afflicted veterans and their families is to research, with the aid of  ProPublica maps, all the bases they served on.  It’s possible that known toxins may have caused or contributed, (“more likely than not”) to certain conditions.

Thanks to Frank for spotting and sharing this brilliant resource and to ProPublic for creating it.


Posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, AO, BvA Decisions, DM II, Food for thought, General Messages, Guest authors, Military Madness, research, VA BACKLOG | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Camp Lejeune–private doctors are unaware

My old Marine got the poison-toxins double-whammy during his military  service–Agent Orange and at Camp Lejeune . We know AO has caused damage;  CL has been on our radar due to posts on Asknod, various news reports and the registry.

A urologist he saw this week commented on the failure of the VA to acknowledge the association between AO and bladder cancer.  But he had not heard anything about Camp Lejeune and the bladder cancer nexus.

The 2015 VA Fact Sheet IB 10-449 (LINK) CAMP LEJEUNE: PAST WATER CONTAMINATION is obsolete after recent developments.

Image: PD, Pixabay

The Camp Lejeune Water Contaminated Veterans rule in 82 FR 4173. has an effective date of March 14th, 2017 and no earlier.

As Ryan Spencer, a Veterans Disability Benefits Attorney, (LINK) sees the final rule this way:

“It is good because it expands the scope of coverage to include National Guard and Reservists who otherwise would not be eligible for benefits. Additionally, it adds some diseases not allowed under the prior 2012 Act.

However, it is troubling that older cases that have been denied and appealed are barred from using this rule in upcoming decisions. As it stands, current Veterans who have appealed prior claims have no right to use the provisions of this new and favorable rule solely because their case was already denied. Essentially, it is as if the rule was never passed into law.”

He is being polite.  This is the same type of strategy the VA used to hurt veterans who would have benefited in the Staab (LINK) case concerning Emergency Care.  It helps veterans and community hospitals only after the date of the (delayed) favorable ruling.

Posts about  Camp Lejeune on Asknod began 2012.  In descending chronological order (newest to oldest):

(Kiedove on 2/8/17)  Lejeune final rule: March 14, 2017 (LINK)

  • Article link from Frank.


  • (BVA ) An depth must-read about Jane Vet’’s CL breast cancer, who in 2010, represented by DAV, led her to proceed without an IMO.  Her VA cancer doc hedged but was supportive.  Another VA doc threw her under the bus because she didn’t have male breast cancer, the more studied concern. 
  • The judge found the medical evidence was in equipoise and found in Jane Vet’s favor in this case.


Holy carcinogenic crap, Batman. Say it ain’t so. From the BVA archives comes this 2013 gemstone. With an attorney no less, this Vet may have a problem. Let’s recite this one more time for all the hard of hearing. HCV is caused by a v-i-r-u-s. Carcinogens cause cancer, not HCV.”


  • Title is self explanatory.

(Alex on 11/14/12)  CANCER AND CAMP LEJEUNE (LINK)

  • MSNBC.  Link dead now but NBC has published many reports on CL.


Link from Shawn & classic commentary from Alex.

VA rule #1– You lose (always)
rule #2— If it appears you are going to win, refer back to #1
We let a few win (15%) to keep the Congressmen off our backs.”


  • The Marines are going to take it in the shorts when they publish the list.”

(Alex  on 7/6/12)    CAMP LEJEUNE UPDATE 7/2012 (LINK)

  • Link to ABC News video; poignant comment from Debi.


  • Important background and remembrance of Jerry Ensminger’s little angel, Janey:

    Click image to view trailer.

(Alex on 2/18/12)       New Camp Lejeune Update (LINK)

  • Representative Miller,

“…If you have in fact discovered a 3 billion dollar coverage provided to the VA in their budget, why are you asking the Secretary to do something that you could make him do by passing HR-1742? You have had that bill sitting in your committee for nearly a year and you haven’t even allowed the HVAC to consider it!….Jerry Ensminger

Did I miss any? I’ll try to come up with a simple Fact Sheet myself to share with the urologist who may, who knows, share it with other staffers.  The older infographic below deals with health care for the afflicted.



Out of date but still has some striking information. Image: Camp Lejeune Toxic Water by VetsHQ Infographics & Research

Other resources:  (keyword search “Camp Lejeune” brings up many useful articles.)  


Civilian Exposure–Focused on CL and other military installations toxic situations.

Posted in Agent Orange, All about Veterans, AO, BvA Decisions, C&P exams, Camp Lejeune poisoning, CAVC ruling, Complaints Department, Congressional Influence, Food for thought, General Messages, Guest authors, hepatitis, IMOs/IMEs, Inspirational Veterans, Nexus Information, research, Uncategorized, VA Agents, VA Attorneys, Veterans Law, Vietnam Disease Issues, VSOs | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Jez. Somebody call up the DAV at St. Pete’s pronto and tell this guy he’s a chicken dinner winner if he gets in touch with me. I read this one and just about choked on my coffee. Pretty sleazy rater with no medical acumen. Hepatitis Australian Antigen Positive, or HAA positive is our old friend Hep B.  Since when would the VA examiner say there’s no correlation between jetguns and blood transmital? It’s  in the M-21 for crying out loud.

I think VLJ  Keith Parakkel reached an all time low on this one.

Posted in BvA HCV decisions, Jetgun BvA Decisions, Jetgun Claims evidence, VA Medical Mysteries Explained, Veterans Law | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments


We’ve come a long way, baby. I began teaching this exact procedure to win in 2007: 

If your only risk was drinking beer and smoking pot, everyone would have it…

Posted in Blood info, BvA HCV decisions, HCV Epidemiology, HCV Risks (documented), hepatitis, Jetgun BvA Decisions, Jetgun Claims evidence, medical injections, Nexus Information, Tips and Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments