A new vaccine to prevent shingles, a common, painful skin disease, will be routinely offered from September 1st 2013.
The 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. If you have already had shingles it is still advisable to have the vaccine to prevent it recurring.
What is shingles?
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus) in people who have previously had chickenpox. It begins with a burning sensation in the skin, followed by a rash of very painful fluid-filled blisters that can then burst and turn into sores before healing. Often an area on just one side of the body is affected, usually the chest but sometimes the head, face and eye. Some people are left with pain lasting for years after the initial rash has healed.
Who can have the shingles vaccination?
Shingles vaccination will be offered routinely as part of the NHS vaccination programme for people during the year after they have turned 70. For a while, it will also be offered to 78 and 79 year olds as part of a catch-up programme.
In due course everyone else in the 70-79 year age group will be invited. Please be patient we can only offer the vaccine in a phased manner as governed by Public Health England.
If you are in the eligible age group, please ask the receptionist for an appointment.
Please note that the vaccine will not be suitable for everyone e.g. people with a very low immune system. Please discuss this with the Practice Nurse.