The Government is phasing in a vaccination to prevent shingles because of the high incidence of those elderly people who get shingles and are left with terrible pain which can last for months, called Post Herpatic Neuralgia.
The campaign includes those who are aged 70, 71 and those aged 76, 77, 78 and 79 on the 1st of September 2015.
The further catch -up for those aged 72 to 75 will come at a later date, but at the moment there is not enough vaccine for everyone, so only the above ages can get it at the moment.
You can have it at the same time as your Flu jag, and there is no harm in getting both at the same time.
If you haven’t had the Pneumococcal vaccination before, it is perfectly safe to to get all three vaccinations at the same time.
Before your shingles vaccination
Inform your surgery if:
- You are on any medication
- You have had shingles or post herpetic neuralgia (nerve pain following shingles) in the past year?
- You have ever had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of shingles vaccine
- You are feeling unwell or have a fever
- You have problems with your immune system due to disease or treatment
- You have had cancer, leukaemia or lymphoma
- You have ever had an organ or bone marrow transplant
- You have rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, sarcoidosis or inflammatory bowel disease
- You have tuberculosis
- You are HIV positive
- You have been treated with oral steroids, anti-cancer drugs, biological therapy, radiotherapy or chemotherapy in the last 12 months.
- You have been treated recently with oral antivirals such as aciclovir
After your shingles vaccination
Like all vaccines, the shingles vaccine may cause side effects for some people. Some of the more common known side effect include:
- Redness, pain, swelling and itching at the injection site
- Pain in the arm or leg
- Warmth, bruising or a hard lump at the injection site
For a full list of known side effects, please refer to the Patient Information Leaflet.
If you have any symptoms that cause you concern (including any mentioned above), or you need any advice, talk to your GP or practice nurse.
If you experience any side effects you can report these to www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard
Or to Sanofi Pasteur MSD, telephone number 01628 785291.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SHINGLES
INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS AND CARERS
What is shingles?
Shingles (herpes zoster) is a nerve infection caused by the chickenpox virus. It only affects people who’ve had chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus can remain inactive in your spine. Sometimes after many years there is a sudden reactivation of the virus and you get shingles. This may happen when you are stressed or feeling run down.
You experience a tingling or burning pain in a particular area of your body, normally the torso. This is because certain nerves are affected. After a few days a rash or blisters appear on an area of skin above these nerves. The blisters may itch. You may run a slight temperature, feel tired, depressed and generally under the weather.
What can you do to help?
If you visit your doctor within a few days of your shingles rash appearing, you may receive antiviral medicine to help prevent the virus replicating and to ease the pain. It is important that you take the treatment as prescribed and complete the course. You should also make sure you take plenty of rest and you can also put calamine lotion on your blisters to soothe the itching.
Can you give shingles to other people?
You can’t give shingles to other people. But people who’ve not had chickenpox can get chickenpox from being in contact with someone with shingles.
How long does shingles last?
Shingles is a disease that has several stages. Initially when you have the appearance of blisters you are contagious. That means you can pass the virus on to other people. This last for around 7-10 days or until the blisters have died up and scabbed over. The scabs will take a further 10-14 days to heal completely. In some cases the associated pain may last several weeks or even months and you may need to go back to your Doctor.
Are there people you should keep away from?
Stay away from people who haven’t had chickenpox, especially pregnant women, babies and young children. Also avoid people who may have a serious illness that makes it difficult for them to fight infection.
Can you go to work or go to places with lots of people?
It’s best to keep away until your blisters have gone.
What happens if you scratch your drying blisters?
They may get infected and feel even more sore. They’ll take longer to heal and may cause scarring. You may also need antibiotics.
Can you get shingles more than once?
Most people only get shingles once. But the virus can recur if you are run down and may affect a different part of the body. People with reduced immunity may suffer repeated attacks.
Where can you get more information?
Shingles Support Society
41 North Road, London, N7 9DP.
Tel: 020 7609 9061