Immunisations Shingles Vaccine


From September 1st 2015 the shingles vaccine is routinely available to people aged 70 and 78. You become eligible for the vaccine on the first day of September 2015 "after" you have turned 70 or 78 and remain so until the last day of August 2016.

In addition, anyone who was eligible for immunisation in the first two years of the programme but has not yet been vaccinated against shingles remains eligible until their 80th birthday. This includes:

i)  People aged 71 and 72 on 1st September 2015

ii) People aged 79

You can have the shingles vaccination at any time of the year, although many people may find it more convenient to receive it at the same time as their annual seasonal flu vaccination.

If you have ever had chickenpox, you could be at risk of developing shingles.

Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is a condition that is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus. Once you have had chickenpox the virus stays dormant (inactive) in your nervous system and later in life can reactivate and cause shingles. It is not fully known what causes the virus to reactivate, but this often occurs many years after the original chickenpox infection. Shingles tends to occur more often in older people and usually causes a painful rash on one side of the body.

How likely am I to get shingles?

Around 1 in 4 adults could develop shingles in their lifetime. The immune system weakens with age and so the chance of developing shingles increases as we get older. It is most common and tends to be more severe in people aged over 70 years.