Shingles Vaccination Service
Shingrix is a two-dose vaccine for anyone aged 18 to 49 years at increased risk (weak immune system*) or 50 years and over.
Zostavax is a live single dose vaccine for 50 years and over ONLY
Get your shingles vaccine directly from your local CarePlus Pharmacy*. Shingles is a common infection caused by the same virus that leads to chickenpox -the herpes-zoster virus. Once you have the virus, it remains in your body, and can become active again in later life where it develops into shingles.
Of the 95% of adults who have had chickenpox, around a quarter will go on to develop shingles – and it is more likely to happen as you get older. It can be reactivated when your immune system weakens due to increasing age, stress, or certain conditions and treatments e.g., cancer or HIV. The shingles vaccine is a safe and effective way to reduce your chances of developing shingles.
Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the area of skin around it. It is a painful skin rash caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus. If you have had chickenpox in the past, you may develop shingles as the virus remains inactive in your nervous system after the illness. Your immune system keeps the virus in check until such a time, usually in later life, it reactivates and causes shingles.
Shingles can be very painful and the older you are, the worse it can be. Although most people fully recover from shingles, some can be left with long-term nerve pain that continues for months or even years after the blisters and rash have healed – this is called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). The older you are, the higher the chance of developing PHN because of shingles.
The Shingles Vaccine
The vaccine not only helps reduce your risk of developing shingles but can lessen the severity and duration of any symptoms if you do, as well as cutting your risk of developing nerve pain PHN.
The shingles vaccine contains a weakened chickenpox virus that encourages your body to produce antibodies against the herpes zoster virus. Your antibodies are proteins produced by your body to destroy disease or infection. The vaccine protects you from becoming ill if the virus is reactivated.
There are two shingles vaccines currently available in Ireland, one is a live vaccine called Zostavax (given as one dose) and the other is a recombinant vaccine called Shingrix (given as a two-dose).
Studies have shown that four months after two doses of the Shingrix vaccine that its efficacy at preventing shingles was as follows: **
- Aged 50 to 69 years 100%
- Aged 70 to 79 years 93%
- Aged 80 years and older 71%
Studies have shown that three months after one dose of the Zostavax vaccine its efficacy at preventing shingles was as follows: **
- Aged 50 to 59 years 70%
- Aged 60 to 69 years 64%
- Aged 60 to 79 years 41%
- Aged 80 years and older 41% at 5 years
If you do get shingles, the vaccine can also help reduce the severity of the symptoms and also the risk of developing post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), the long-lasting nerve pain that follows shingles.
How can I get the Shingles Vaccine?
The Shingles Vaccination Service is available privately at selected CarePlus Pharmacies. The service is offered by specially trained CarePlus pharmacists vaccinators. To avail of the vaccination service, simply book an appointment online for one of the shingles vaccines, at a time that is convenient for you.
- Shingrix is a two-dose vaccine and is available for anyone aged 18 to 49 years at increased risk (Weak immune system) or 50 years and over
- Zostavax is a single-dose vaccine and is available for anyone aged 50 years and over ONLY
You can get the vaccination year-round. If you have had shingles before, you can still have the vaccination provided it has been over one year since you have had shingles.
It is recommended to leave a gap of at least seven days between getting the COVID-19 vaccination and a shingles vaccination.
- For further information about the Shingrix TWO dose shingles vaccine click here
- For further information about the Zostavax ONE dose shingles vaccine click here
The Shingles vaccines and their administration are subject to charge. Please contact your local CarePlus Pharmacy for pricing.
Who should NOT get the shingles vaccine?
The shingles vaccine is not recommended if:
- You are pregnant. If breastfeeding talk to your doctor to check if getting the vaccine currently.
- You have a history of severe allergic reactions to any of the shingles vaccine components.
- The live shingles vaccine is also not recommended for those who have a condition, take medicines or are receiving treatment that weakens their immune system or anyone who has had a previous shingles vaccination.
- If you have thrombocytopenia or any coagulation disorder, talk to your pharmacist as you may not be eligible to get the vaccination in the pharmacy.
If you have Tuberculosis or are taking immunosuppressants, you may not be eligible for the live single-dose vaccine and will be offered the two-dose Shingrix.
If you are in any doubt, talk to your pharmacist, who can give you more information about the vaccination and advise whether it is suitable for you.
How to Book an Appointment:
You can book an appointment or register on the waitlist for vaccines online for selected CarePlus Pharmacies* by clicking on the “Book Now” button, or alternatively, you book an appointment in-store or by calling the pharmacy.
*Appointment availability subject to stock and pharmacist vaccinator availability and eligibility criteria, this service is subject to charge. Selected CarePlus Pharmacies only.
For more information see below about shingles, visit our FAQ page, or see Shingles - HSE.ie
Shingles (herpes zoster) is caused by the varicella zoster virus—the same virus that causes chickenpox. The virus stays inactive in the body for life and can reactivate years, or even decades later, causing shingles. Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful rash that can be severe, can cause nerve pain, and may involve the eyes, leading to vision loss.
If you have had chickenpox, you are at risk for shingles. Around one in four adults will get shingles in their lifetime. Shingles is typically associated with aging as well as anything that weakens the immune system such as certain medications, cancers, or infections, but it can also occur in healthy children and younger adults. Shingles is not passed from person to person.
Yes, it can be. Not only can shingles be very painful and uncomfortable, but some people are also left with long-lasting pain called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) for years after the initial rash has healed.
Very rarely, shingles or complications from it can be fatal.
Generally, symptoms range from mild to severe. Shingles starts with some initial pain and tingling, before developing into a rash with blisters that can be itchy, painful and last for about 2-4 weeks. The rash usually only affects the upper body on one side, but can also develop on the head, neck and around the eyes.
Anyone who’s had chickenpox is at risk of developing shingles, as the virus remains in certain nerves of the body and can become active again as time goes on. You may be at greater risk if you:
- Have a weakened immune system
- Are aged over 50
- Have become ill
- Are under significant stress
As an injection into the upper arm.
There are 2 shingles vaccines: Zostavax (a live vaccine) and Shingrix (a non-live vaccine).
With both vaccines it's quite common to get redness and discomfort at the vaccination site, headaches and fatigue, but these side effects should not last more than a few days. See a GP if you have side effects that last longer than a few days, or if you develop a rash after having the shingles vaccination.
See below for the side-effects that can be experienced with each of the shingles vaccines:
Live shingles vaccine – Zostavax
- Very common: redness, pain, swelling, itching at the injection site
- Common: warmth, bruising, rash, and a hard lump at the injection site. Headache, pain in the arm or leg, joint pain, muscle pain and fever
- Less common reactions include nausea, swollen glands at the neck or armpits, hives at the injection site
- Very rare: varicella (chickenpox)
Recombinant shingles vaccine – Shingrix
- Very common: headache, stomach, and digestive complaints (including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and/or stomach pain), muscle pain (myalgia), pain, redness and swelling where the injection is given, feeling tired, chills, fever
- Common: itching where the injection is given (pruritus), generally feeling unwell
- Uncommon: swollen glands in the neck, armpit or groin, joint pain
Sometimes, a severe allergic reaction can occur. Signs include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. If this happens, we have procedures in place to deal with this condition.
If you develop a chickenpox-like rash after being vaccinated, you should avoid direct contact with people who have not had it until your rash is dry and crusted, e.g., infants.