The vaccine helps to protect against shingles, which is caused by a virus called varicella zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox.
What vaccine is used?
The Zostavax vaccine is routinely used in Scotland.
The Shingrix vaccine is used for those who are severely immunosuppressed.
How effective is the vaccine?
The vaccine will reduce your chances of developing shingles by more than a third. If you do go on to have shingles, the symptoms will be milder and won't last as long as they would have if you hadn't been immunised.
Do I need the shingles vaccine if I've never had chickenpox?
Yes. The chances are that you may have had chickenpox at some point without knowing it. Some people have chickenpox without displaying any of the typical chickenpox symptoms.
Do I need the shingles vaccine if I've had shingles before?
Yes. Even if you've already had shingles, you could still get it again. The vaccine will reduce your risk of getting shingles again.
Are there any reasons why I shouldn't have the vaccine?
You shouldn't have the shingles vaccine if:
- you've had a severe reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine
- you've had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the chickenpox vaccine
Does the shingles vaccine contain pork (porcine) gelatine?
If you don't have a severely weakened immune system, the shingles vaccine you'll be offered contains a small trace of pork gelatine.
Gelatine is a common and essential ingredient in many medicines, including some vaccines.
Many faith groups, including Muslim and Jewish communities, have approved the use of gelatine-containing vaccines. It is, however, an individual choice whether or not to receive the shingles vaccine.
Can the shingles vaccine be given at the same time as other vaccines?
Speak to a healthcare professional about getting other vaccines at the same time so they can advise what's best for your individual circumstances. You should ideally wait seven days between the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination and shingles vaccination.
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How do we know the vaccine is safe?
All medicines (including vaccines) are tested for safety and effectiveness by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The shingles vaccine meets the high safety standards required for it to be used in the UK and other European countries. The vaccine has been given to millions of people worldwide.
Once they're in use, the safety of vaccines continues to be monitored by the MHRA.