A vaccine to prevent shingles, a common, painful skin disease is available on the NHS to patients aged 70 or 78 years old.
9you'll only need to have the vaccination once and you can have it at any time of the year.
The shingles vaccine is not available on the NHS if you are aged 80 or over.
The shingles vaccine is expected to reduce your risk of getting shingles. If you are unlucky enough to go on to have the disease, your symptoms may be milder and the illness shorter.
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.
How is the shingles vaccine given?
The vaccine is given as an injection into the upper arm.
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.
How safe is the shingles vaccine?
There is lots of evidence showing that the new 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.
Is there anyone who should not have the shingles vaccination?
You should not have the shingles vaccine if you:
- have a weakened immune system (for example, because of cancer treatment, if you take steroid tablets or if you've had an organ transplant – your doctor will advise whether this applies to you)
- you've had a serious allergic reaction (including an anaphylactic reaction) to a previous dose of any of the substances in the vaccine, such as neomycin and gelatin – again, your GP can advise you if this applies to you
- you've had a serious allergic reaction (including an anaphylactic reaction) to a previous dose of the chickenpox vaccine
For more information on the vaccination please visit the NHS Choices website