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Shingles can occur to anyone who has had chickenpox. The risk increases as people get older. When shingles develop, a rash or blisters appear on the skin, generally on one side of the body. This is a sign that the virus, that has been dormant in the nerve cells, has reactivated and travelled from the nerves and followed a path out to the skin.

Because the nerves along the path become inflamed, shingles can also be painful. Pain that lasts for months after the rash has healed is called post herpetic neuralgia. For some people, this pain can be severe and chronic.

Treatment relies upon treating the blistering and rash, and trying to find a combination of painkillers to make the symptoms bearable while the virus runs its course. Occasionally, antiviral treatment can reduce the duration of illness.

Shingles vaccine which has been shown to reduce the occurrence of shingles by half in a study of adults aged 60 and older who received it. The vaccine also reduced by two thirds the number of cases of shingles or post herpetic neuralgia and reduced the severity and duration of pain and discomfort associated with shingles, by more than half. Local reactions at the injection site were generally mild. It has just been made available in the UK.


Keep this leaflet. You may need to read it again.

If you have further questions please ask your nurse or doctor.

If any of the side effects get serious, or if you notice any side effects not listed in this leaflet, please tell your nurse or doctor.
What is Shingles Vaccine

It is a vaccine used to prevent shingles and shingles related long-lasting nerve pain that follows shingles.

It is used to vaccinate individuals 50 years of age and over.

It cannot be used to treat existing shingles or pain associated with existing shingles.

Before you receive the Vaccine

Do not receive the Vaccine if:

If you are allergic to neomycin, sodium chloride or potassium.

If you have a blood disorder or any type of cancer.

If you have been told by your doctor