Herpes Zoster ( shingles) is a painful blistered rash caused by the reactivation of the varicella zoster virus ( the same virus that causes chickenpox). The causes of reactivation are poorly understood, but it occurs in the nerve tissue causing inflammation. sometimes the pain in the area supplied by the affected nerve can be prolonged and severe , it is called postherpetic neuralgia ( PHN) It is estimated that PHN occurs in approximately 50% of shingles episodes , the risk increases with age. It is estimated that one in three people over 50 years will experience an episode of shingles.

Immunisation is possible with a single dose of Zostavax.

The shingles vaccine ( Zostavax) will be provided to those aged 70 years under the National Immunisation Programme from 1st November, with a catch-up program for those aged 71-79 years until 31st October 2021.

Those aged 50 years and over can purchase Zostavax for vaccination (  approx $200) on the private market. Research indicated that the vaccine is effective for 10-12 years and needs to be repeated for further protection.

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