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The shingles vaccine is given as a single injection into the upper arm. Unlike the flu jab, you’ll only need to have the vaccination once and you can have it at any time of the year. 

The shingles vaccine is expected to reduce your risk of getting shingles. If you do go on to have the disease, your symptoms may be milder and the illness shorter.

Shingles can be very painful and uncomfortable. Some people are left with pain lasting for years after the initial rash has healed. Shingles is also fatal for around 1 in 1,000 over-70s who develop it.

It’s fine to have the shingles vaccine if you’ve already had the virus. The shingles vaccine works very well in people who have had it before and it will boost your immunity against further shingles attacks. 

If you have any further inquiries or questions, feel free to contact our Shingles vaccine in Edinburgh team and we will be pleased to help you with any questions that you have.

Who can have the shingles vaccination?

You’re eligible for the shingles vaccine if you are aged 70 or 78 years old.

In addition, anyone who was previously eligible (born on or after September 2, 1942) but missed out on their shingles vaccination remains eligible until their 80th birthday. When you’re eligible, you can have the shingles vaccination at any time of year.

How do I get the shingles vaccine?

Once you become eligible for shingles vaccination your doctor will take the opportunity to vaccinate you when you attend the surgery for general reasons, or for your annual flu vaccination. 

If you are worried that you may miss out on the shingles vaccination, contact our Shingles vaccine in Edinburgh team to arrange an appointment.

What is the brand name of the shingles vaccine?

The brand name of the shingles vaccine given in the UK is Zostavax. It can be given at any time of the year.

How does the shingles vaccine work?

The vaccine contains a weakened chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus). It’s similar, but not identical to, the chickenpox vaccine.

Very occasionally, people develop a chickenpox-like illness following shingles vaccination (fewer than 1 in 10,000 individuals).

How long will the shingles vaccine protect me for?

It’s difficult to be precise, but research suggests the shingles vaccine will protect you for at least 5 years, probably longer.

How safe is the shingles vaccine?

There is lots of evidence showing that the shingles vaccine is very safe. It’s already been used in several countries, including the US and Canada, and no safety concerns have been raised. The vaccine also has few side effects.

What is shingles?

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus) in people who have previously had chickenpox.

It begins with a burning sensation in the skin, followed by a rash of very painful fluid-filled blisters that can then burst and turn into sores before healing. Often an area on just one side of the body is affected, usually the chest but sometimes the head, face and eye.

How is shingles spread?

You don’t “catch” shingles – it comes on when there’s a reawakening of chickenpox virus that’s already in your body. The virus can be reactivated because of a range of issues, including advancing age, medication, illness or stress.

Anyone who has had chickenpox can get shingles. It’s estimated that around 1 in 5 people who have had chickenpox go on to develop shingles.

Who’s most at risk of shingles?

People tend to get shingles more often as they get older, especially over the age of 70. And the older you are, the worse it can be. The shingles rash can be extremely painful, such that sufferers can’t even bear the feeling of their clothes touching the affected skin.

The pain of shingles can also linger long after the rash has disappeared, even for many years. This lingering pain is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Feel free to contact our Shingles vaccine in Edinburgh team and we will be pleased to help you with any questions that you have.

Categories: Vaccines