Apr 10

Zostavax (Shingles) Vaccine

Zostavax (Shingles Vaccine)

The Zostavax vaccine is now available in clinic and is funded for those between 65 and 80 years of age. 

Please be aware that we will NOT be giving this vaccine at the same time as the flu vaccine. This is because we feel that this vaccine requires more information gathering and a thorough explanation given, to ensure this vaccine is appropriate and safe for our patients.  

Please find further information  on the vaccine below. 

Zostavax is indicated for the prevention of herpes zoster and the painful complications of herpes zoster (shingles). Prevention of shingles prevents acute shingles-related pain and the risk of chronic pain, known as post-herpetic neuralgia.

From the 1st of April one dose of Zostavax will be funded for adults aged 65 years. This is available for those between 65-80yrs even if they have already had this vaccine.

Zostavax can be purchased by those who are not funded by talking to your GP or Practice Nurse.

Zostavax has an excellent safety record since it was introduced in the U.S. in 2006. The vaccine is generally well tolerated. There is no evidence that the vaccine causes herpes zoster.

The most common vaccine side effects occur around the injection site, including:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Headache
  • Occasionally itching or a rash around the injection site may occur.

The only reason to postpone this vaccination is if the individual has a fever over 38°C.

Vaccine effectiveness

Immunisation to prevent an episode of herpes zoster (shingles) may not protect every person. In those who develop protection after immunisation, the duration of protection after vaccination against herpes zoster has been shown to be around 5 years.

The risk of an episode of shingles increases with advancing age. Similarly, the ability of immunisation to prevent shingles decreases with advancing age.

Rates of those who are immunised who gain immunity from vaccine.

50 – 59yrs                 7 in every 10 are immunised

60 – 69yrs                6-7 in every 10 are immunised

70 – 79yrs                4 in every 10 are immunised

80yrs and older       1 – 2 in every 10 are immunised

You should not have Zostavax if you have: current leukaemia, lymphoma, or other bone/marrow/lymphatic neoplasms, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or other medical condition causing cellular immunodeficiency, tuberculosis (TB), severe allergy (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of herpes zoster virus vaccine or a component of the vaccine, are taking immunosuppressive medication or are recovering from immunosuppressive treatment, are HIV-positive.

If you have any questions regarding this vaccine please discuss this with the Nurse.