A vaccine for the prevention of shingles is available. If you are 70, 71,72, 73, 74 or 78 or 79 on 1st September 2017, you are eligible. The vaccine (known as Zostavax®▼) is provided through NHS GPs, pharmacists or private healthcare providers. We encourage anyone who is offered this vaccine to take it up.
It is a booster to the antibodies already in your body which were created when you first had chickenpox. This means the vaccine is relatively side-effect free with only headache or soreness at the site of the injection reported.
Public Health England has issued this statement:
“There will be a shingles vaccination programme introduced for people aged 70, with a catch-up programme for those aged up to, and including, 79 years. Shingles is an infection of a nerve that causes pain and a rash along a band of skin over the affected nerve. The infection is caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox. Following chickenpox infection, the virus lies dormant in the nervous tissue but may reappear following reactivation as shingles. The programme began in September 2013 and it is estimated that around 800,000 people in the UK will be eligible for the vaccine each year.”
If you consider yourself to be at especial risk, and you are outside the ages specified, you could talk to your GP about your particular situation.