A vaccine to prevent shingles, a common, painful skin disease is available on the NHS to certain people in their 70s.
The shingles vaccine is given as a single injection into the upper arm. Unlike the flu jab, you'll only need to have the vaccination once and you can have it at any time of the year. Many people find it convenient to have it at the same time as their annual flu vaccination.
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.
Shingles can be very painful and uncomfortable. Some people are left with pain lasting for years after the initial rash has healed, and shingles is fatal for around 1 in 1,000 over-70s who develop it.
It's fine to have the shingles vaccine if you've already had shingles. The shingles vaccine works very well in people who have had shingles before and it will boost your immunity against further shingles attacks.
Who can have the shingles vaccination?
You are eligible for the shingles vaccine if you are aged 70 or 78 years old.
In addition, anyone who was eligible for immunisation in the previous three years of the programme but missed out on their shingles vaccination remains eligible until their 80th birthday. This includes:
- people in their 70s who were born after 1 September 1942
- people aged 79 years
The shingles vaccine is not available on the NHS if you are aged 80 or over.