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Shingles vaccine, Shingrix, when you reach 65

From 1st September, GPs can give you the shingles vaccine Shingrix when you reach your 65th birthday!

This is only available to you while you are 65. People who are 66-69 years old will still have to wait until they are 70 to be vaccinated. Then they join the standard vaccine programme for everyone in their 70s.

For now, the 70-79 year olds will continue to be given Zostavax which prevents around 70% of cases of post herpetic neuralgia. In a few months, this will change to the improved, two-dose shingles vaccine called Shingrix. Shingrix is more than 90% efficient at preventing shingles.

These vaccines aim to prevent shingles. Anyone who has had chickenpox, even if they don’t remember, could develop shingles. Chickenpox virus hides in the body and a repeat appearance of this virus is called shingles. Shingles clears up by itself. Antiviral tablets may be prescribed to shorted this. In some people shingles leaves behind a pain called post herpetic neuralgia. Tnd this is particularly likely the older a person is. Post herpetic neuralgia is very difficult to treat.

The vaccine information above applies to people who have normal health (immuno competent). People living with various health conditions (Immunocompromised) who are 50 or above, can have Shingrix immediately. Full details of this area shown on the UKSHA website. The rules will change each year. Vaccines for shingles have been introduced gradually so as not to overload GPs and because supplies of vaccine are limited. The company that makes the vaccines commented “It’s tricky to make [this vaccine in comparison to others].”

Getting the vaccine privately

Anyone over 50 years old can choose to pay for a shingles vaccine if they desire: seek a private provider such as a clinic that sells travel vaccines, a pharmacy that offers flu jabs. Infact, ask any private medical service.

We will be updating this vaccine information next year – or when the supplies of Zostavax run out so that everyone in the relevant age groups gets Shingrix.