My husband had the shingles for over a week, and the antivirals helped him late.
My son and I had gone upNorth to our summer place, and he was home still working. This was before cell phones etc.
He called the marina and told them to tell us he was not coming up yet...he was ill.
So we found a pay phone (not easy in those days, because vandals up there were trashing them frequently) and I called him back and when he told me what was going on...I had him go to the doctor ASAP. Turns out he had his in the typical waist upper torso presentation on the left, and also in his EAR.
The Zovirax worked well for him. He has had some pain in the spring in the back now and then, just like I get in my right arm, but for the most part the antiviral worked for him and he did NOT get it within 48-72 hrs.
You should really press for the drugs...they are not serious or toxic in most ways, and can help suppress the virus for you.
I really cannot imagine a doctor NOT giving them!
BTW the vaccine only has about a 50% success rate. Not a great number for exposure to a vaccine IMO. Both of us had our shingles long before 60. I was in my late 40's and he was in early 50's.
Here is a post about the shingles vaccine from my vaccine thread on
the PN subforum: