Shingles Vaccination Service
Shingles is caused by the same virus as chickenpox – the herpes-zoster virus. Once you have the virus, it remains in your body, and can become active again in later life where it develops into shingles.
Of the 95% of adults who’ve had chickenpox, around a quarter will go on to develop shingles* – and it’s more likely to happen as you get older. It can be reactivated when your immune system weakens due to increasing age, stress, or certain conditions and treatments e.g. cancer or HIV.
What are the symptoms of shingles?
Generally, symptoms range from mild to severe. Shingles starts with some initial pain and tingling, before developing into a rash with blisters that can be itchy, painful and last for about 2-4 weeks. The rash usually only affects the upper body on one side, but can also develop on the head, neck and around the eyes.
Who’s at risk from shingles?
Anyone who’s had chickenpox is at risk of developing shingles, as the virus remains in certain nerves of the body and can become active again as time goes on. You may be at greater risk if you:
• Have a weakened immune system
• Are aged over 50
• Have become ill
• Are under significant stress
Why get the vaccine?
Shingles can be very painful and the older you are, the worse it can be. Although most people fully recover from shingles, some can be left with long-term nerve pain that continues for months or even years after the blisters and rash have healed – this is called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).
The older you are, the higher the chance of developing PHN as a result of shingles. The vaccine not only helps reduce your risk of developing shingles, but can lessen the severity and duration of any symptoms if you do, as well as cutting your risk of developing PHN.
Who is suitable for the shingles vaccination?
It can be given to people aged 50 or over. You can have the vaccination year-round and can even choose to have it at the same time as the winter flu vaccination. And if you’ve had shingles before, you can still have the vaccination provided it's been over 1 year since you have had shingles.
Who should NOT get the shingles vaccine?
It’s not recommended for those who have a condition, take medicines or are receiving treatment that weakens their immune system, pregnant women or anyone who’s had a previous shingles vaccination. You shouldn’t have the vaccine if you have a history of severe allergic reaction to any of the shingles vaccine components.
If you’re in any doubt, talk to your pharmacist, who can give you more information about the vaccination and advise whether it’s suitable for you.
How do I avail of the vaccination service?
To avail of the vaccination service, simply book an appointment online, phone or call in to your local Boots pharmacy and a member of the pharmacy team will check your eligibility and arrange an appointment for a time that is convenient for you.
The cost of this service is €199.
Occasionally, people develop side-effects after a shingles vaccination but most usually aren’t serious
• Very common side-effects include redness, pain, swelling, itching at the injection site
• Common side-effects include warmth, bruising, rash, and a hard lump at the injection site. Headache, pain in the arm or leg, joint pain, muscle pain and fever
• Less common reactions include, nausea, swollen glands at the neck or armpits, hives at the injection site
• Very rare: varicella (chickenpox)
• The shingles vaccine currently available in Ireland is a live vaccine. It has been shown to help reduce your risk of developing shingles by over 60%**
• If you do get shingles, the vaccine can help reduce the severity of the symptoms and also the risk of developing severe nerve pain called post herpetic neuralgia (PHN). It has shown to be up to 88% effective against developing PHN**
• The vaccine contains gelatin as a component
It’s important you remain in store for 15 minutes after your vaccination, in case you experience any immediate side-effects.
Sometimes, a severe allergic reaction can occur. Signs include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness and weakness. If this happens, we have procedures in place to deal with this condition.
If you develop a chickenpox-like rash after being vaccinated, you should avoid direct contact with people who haven’t had it until your rash is dry and crusted, e.g. infants.
Vaccination service subject to availability. Selected stores only. Charge applies. Ask your Boots pharmacist for details. Eligibility criteria applies