Shingles Vaccination

Everyone aged between 70 and 79 years is eligible for the shingles vaccine up to 79 years of age.

If you get shingles after being vaccinated, the symptoms can be much milder.

What is shingles?

Shingles is an infection that causes a painful rash.
Usually you get the shingles rash on your chest and tummy, but it can appear anywhere on your body including on your face, eyes and genitals.
The rash appears as blotches on your skin, on 1 side of your body only.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the reactivation of a latent varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection. Primary VZV infection manifests as chickenpox, a highly contagious condition that is characterised by an itchy, vesicular rash. Following this initial infection, the virus enters the dorsal root ganglia and remains there as a permanent, dormant infection.
Reactivation of this latent VZV infection, generally occurring decades later, causes shingles. There is no cure for shingles and normally painkilling medication is provided to relieve symptoms.

Approximately 1 in 4 people will develop shingles during their lifetime. Both the incidence and the severity of the condition increases with age. Older individuals are also more likely to develop secondary complications, such as bacterial skin infections and post-herpetic neuralgia (intractable pain).

More than 50,000 cases of shingles occur in the over 70s every year in England and Wales

On average, cases last 3 to 5 weeks.
Most people only get shingles once, but you can get it more than once

In this age group, around 1 in 1000 cases results in death

Almost 30% of individuals develop a painful complication called Post Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN).
Generally, this pain continues for 3 to 6 months, but it can last even longer

Symptoms include: rashes or blisters on one side of the body, burning or shooting pain, itching, fever, fatigue or headache

The risk of shingles is higher in those with conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis