There's been a recent drop in eligible people coming forward to have their injection, but it's important to take advantage of it if you're in the right age bracket. The rules are slightly complicated but here's who can benefit from a free vaccination:
From 1 September 2015, the shingles vaccine has been offered to people aged 70 years on 1 September 2015. People aged 78 years on 1 September 2015 can also get vaccinated.
Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox), which is commonly caught in childhood.
After a person has had chickenpox, the virus can lie dormant in the nervous tissue but may reappear as shingles. An episode of shingles typically lasts around two to four weeks. The main symptoms are pain, followed by a rash. It is possible to have shingles more than once.
Although shingles vaccination is often offered at the same time as the annual flu vaccination, shingles vaccine is available at any time throughout the year to eligible people.
Those who were eligible for immunisation in the first two years of the programme but have not yet been vaccinated against shingles remain eligible until their 80th birthday. These are people aged 71, 72 or 79 on 1 September 2015.
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