If you have ever had Chickenpox you can get shingles. The Chickenpox virus stays in your body and can later resurface as Shingles — a painful, blistering rash. A new vaccine Zostavax is available that can reduce your risk of getting Shingles. Zostavax is available to anyone aged 50 years and over.
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Yes, however, it is recommended that you wait for one year after having Shingles before having Zostavax. The natural boosting that occurs following an episode of Shingles makes the benefit of offering Shingles vaccine immediately following recovery
limited. If you have had two or more episodes of Shingles in one year should have immunological investigation prior to vaccination.
Zostavax vaccine is a live immunisation. If you require other live vaccinations such as Varicella, Yellow Fever or a TB vaccine(BCG) then Zostavax vaccine can be given at the same time as other live vaccines. Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR) vaccine must be given on the same day or separated by 4 weeks.
All other vaccines can be given at the same time as Zostavax.
No, Zostavax is only licensed for use in those aged 50 years and older.
As there is a potential for antiviral agents to lower the effectiveness of Zostavax it is recommended that Zostavax should not be administered to patients currently receiving oral or intravenous (IV) antiviral agents (such as acyclovir) or is within 48 hours after cessation of treatment due to the potential to lower effectiveness of the vaccine as the therapy may reduce the response to the vaccine.
If you need to start taking antiviral agents these should also not be commenced within two weeks after receiving Zostavax as this may adversely affect the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Note: Using topical antiviral agents such as aciclovir is not a contraindication to vaccination.
Yes you can have the Shingles vaccine but you must wait for 6 months after completing chemotherapy or radiotherapy. We would always recommend you discuss having the Shingles vaccine with your consultant and bring a letter confirming your consultant is happy for you to receive the Shingles vaccine to your appointment.
You must wait for 6 months after completing immunosuppressive medication before having a Shingles vaccine. Those who are receiving or have received in the past 12 months biological
therapy should not receive the shingles vaccine. We would always recommend you discuss having the Shingles vaccine with your consultant and bring a letter confirming your consultant is happy for you to receive the Shingles vaccine to your appointment.
The most commonly reported side effects affecting 1 in 10 of those receiving the vaccine includes redness, pain, swelling and itching at the injection site. Other less commonly reported reactions affecting 1 in 100 includes haematoma, induration and warmth at the injection site. Rarely you can get a post vaccine rash and it is very important that you keep this covered when in contact with a person who has not had chickenpox until the rash is dry and crusted. We recommend seeing your GP if you get a post vaccine rash for further advice.