About the shingles vaccine
The shingles vaccine provides protection against shingles and you only need one dose.
Shingles usually occurs in your 70's and the best way to prevent it is by having the vaccine in the year you turn 70.
The vaccine is not routinely offered earlier. This is because the protection offered by the vaccine needs to last during the years you're most vulnerable to having shingles.
Who can have the shingles vaccine
The vaccine is offered to Islanders during the year of their 70th birthday, for example:
If you missed out on getting the vaccine contact your GP surgery.
The vaccine cannot be given to anyone aged 80 or over as it isn't as effective at this age.
If you've already had shingles
You can have the shingles vaccine even if you've already had shingles. The vaccine will boost your immunity against further shingles attacks.
Where to get the vaccine
You can make an appointment at your GP surgery.
Cost of the vaccine
The vaccine is funded by the Health department. Your GP may charge a consultation fee to give the vaccine.
Side effects of the shingles vaccine
It's quite common to get redness and discomfort at the injection site and you may also get headaches. These side effects are generally mild and don't last long.
Speak to your GP if these symptoms last longer than a few days after having the shingles vaccine.
Who should not have the shingles vaccine
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 you have had an organ transplant)
- you have had a serious allergic reaction (an anaphylactic reaction) to a previous dose of any of the substances in the vaccine, such as neomycin and gelatine
- you have had a serious allergic reaction (an anaphylactic reaction) to a previous dose of the chickenpox vaccine
- you have an untreated TB infection
About shingles disease
- is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. The main symptom is followed by a rash that develops into blisters, similar in appearance to chicken pox
- usually lasts between 2 and 4 weeks. The older you are, the worse it can be. It can lead to complications, such as severe nerve pain, which can last for months or even years
- is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox (herpes varicella-zoster virus). After you get chickenpox, the virus lies dormant in your body. As we age, it can become re-activated and cause shingles
- can't be caught from someone else with shingles or from someone with chicken-pox
- is more common in the over 70s
Around 1 in 4 adults will get shingles in their lifetime. Before introduction of the vaccine, Jersey had 80 to 90 cases of shingles per year among 70 to 79 year olds. Having the vaccine will reduce the number of people developing shingles.
Shingles on NHS Choices website
Patient information leaflet for the shingles vaccine on Medicines website