Shingles is a localised, painful vesicular rash which may follow a headache, tiredness and itching or tingling in the affected area, and is caused by reactivation of the same virus that caused chickenpox earlier in life. Shingles can affect any part of the body, but is most commonly seen on the trunk or face, occurring along the spinal nerve pathways. It usually lasts 10-15 days.
Shingles can lead to post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) which is persistent pain lasting longer than 3 months. Depending on the area affected, the following may occur, especially with increasing age:
inflammation of the eye
inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
secondary bacterial skin infection
The vaccine contains a small amount of the live virus.
Some people may not be able to receive a live vaccine for medical reasons, please discuss with your doctor or immunisation provider for further information.
From 1 November 2016, a free five year catch-up program was commenced for those people aged 71 to 79 years.
Zostavax ® is only registered for use in adults 50 years of age and older who have not previously received a dose of zoster vaccine. Speak to your doctor for further information on receiving this vaccine if you are aged 50 to 69 years of age.
How the shingles vaccine is given
Zoster vaccine is given as an injection into the top of the arm.
Possible side effects of the shingles vaccine
Like any medications, the zoster vaccine can have some minor and short lasting side effects.
pain, redness ,swelling or itching at the injection site
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