Vaccinations against shingles are now available, for those patients over the age of 50. These vaccines are provided free by the Government from November 1 2016, for those people aged between 70 and 79; please check costs for other patients with our friendly reception staff.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is also responsible for chickenpox. It occurs because of a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, which remains in the nerve cells of the body after an attack of chickenpox. People who contract chickenpox are at risk of developing shingles later in life, since the virus lies dormant in the body. Fortunately, it is rare to have more than one attack of shingles.
Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles. However, people who have never had chickenpox can catch the virus from another person with shingles. A person who has never had chickenpox, but comes into contact with a case of shingles, would develop chickenpox (not shingles).