Knowsley Older People's Voice

Shingles Vaccination Programme

The shingles vaccination programme aims to reduce the incidence and severity of shingles in those targeted by the programme by boosting our pre-existing immunity to the virus which causes shingles (varicella zoster). By having the vaccination you will significantly reduce your chance of developing shingles. And, if you do go on to have shingles the symptoms are likely to be milder and the illness shorter, than if you had not had the vaccination.

Like most vaccinations, the vaccine will be given in your upper arm. You will only have the vaccination once – unlike the flu jab, you do not need to be re-vaccinated every year.

What is shingles?

Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the area of skin around it. It is caused by the herpes varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox.

Shingles isn’t like other infectious diseases because you don’t catch it from someone else. Most of us had chickenpox when we were young, although some of us will not be aware that we’ve had it. If you did have it, then the virus that caused it can stay in your body for the rest of your life without you knowing it is there. If the virus reactivates it causes a disease called shingles.

Shingles can be very painful and tends to affect people more commonly as they get older. And the older you are, the worse it can be. For some, the pain caused by shingles can last for many years.

Who will get the vaccine?

All people who turn 70 or 78 years of age on or after 1 April 2017 are eligible for the vaccine. The vaccine is also available for those previously eligible but who missed immunisation. For example, anyone in their 70s who was born after 1 September 1942 and has not yet had the vaccine plus anyone aged 79 years who has missed out on the vaccine.

Click here to check if you’re currently eligible

 What about people who aren’t 70 or 78, will they be getting it?

People under 70 years of age are at lower risk of shingles but will become eligible for the vaccine in the year following their seventieth birthday.

People aged 80 years and over are not eligible for the shingles vaccination because the vaccine becomes less effective as people get older. If you are worried about shingles speak to your GP.

Do I need to do anything to get the vaccination?

Yes, if you are eligible, contact your GP practice to find out when they are offering the vaccination. You can usually have it at the same time as your flu jab in the autumn (although you can have it at any time of the year once you’re eligible).

KOPV is a formally constituted body & has a Steering group of 12 elected members responsible for planning & delivering the work of KOPV on behalf of its members