Are you aged 70 or 79 on 1st September 2013?

If you are, you are eligible to receive the Shingles Vaccine.

What is shingles?

Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is caused by the reactivation of an infection of a nerve and the area of skin that it serves, resulting in clusters of painful, itchy, fluid-filled blisters. These blisters can burst and turn into sores that eventually crust over and heal. These blisters usually affect an area on one side of the body, most commonly the chest but sometimes also the head, face and eye.

What causes shingles?

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox – varicella zoster. When you recover from chickenpox most of the virus is destroyed but some survives and lies inactive in the body in the nervous system. It can then reactivate later in life when your immune system is weakened by increasing age, stress or treatments that reduce your immunity.

How common is shingles?

About one in five people who have had chickenpox develop shingles. This means that in every year in England and Wales, tens of thousands of people will get shingles. It is more common in people aged over 70 years, and of these, about 14,000 go on to develop PHN and over 1400 are admitted to hospital because of it.

Who will get the vaccine?

All people aged 70 on 1 September 2013 are eligible (i.e. all those born between 2 September 1942 and 1 September 1943, inclusive). People aged 79 will also be offered the vaccine in a catch-up programme (i.e. all those born between 2 September 1933 and 1 September 1934, inclusive).

Do I need to do anything to get the vaccination?

No; your doctor will invite you in for the vaccination via letter.  For more details click on this link  and read the NHS leaflet on the subject.

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