What is the shingles vaccine?

The shingles vaccine protects against herpes zoster (shingles) infection. Shingles is a itchy skin rash which is painful affecting a particular nerve. It‘s a long-term effect of chickenpox that can occur many years after a person has recovered from the initial disease. It can affect anyone who has previously had chickenpox, and is more common in older people. Shingles usually lasts 10 to 15 days but can cause scarring and loss of vision if it affects the eyes. One of the most serious complications, particularly among older people, is nerve pain that lasts long after the rash has disappeared.

Why is it recommended to immunise against the shingles?

About one-third of people will develop shingles in their lifetime; 50% of people will develop shingles by the time they reach age 85 years. While shingles can get better on its own, the most common complication occurring in up to 3 in every 10 people with shingles is pain that goes on after the shingles rash has cleared. This is called post-herpetic neuralgia (also called nerve pain).

  • Post-herpetic neuralgia is usually described as a burning or shooting pain, with itch, numbness, tingling or sensitivity to touch or temperature.

  • The risk and severity of both shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia increases with age.

  • Post-herpetic neuralgia can go on for months to years.

Having the shingles vaccine can help prevent shingles and reduce the risk of post-herpetic neuralgia.

If you would like to find out if you qualify for a free immunisation please email

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