Shingles Vaccination Service
Zostavax is a live single dose vaccine for 50 years and over ONLY
Shingrix is a two-dose vaccine for anyone aged 18 to 49 years at increased risk (weak immune system*) or 50 years and over.
The shingles vaccine is available directly from selected StayWell Pharmacies*.
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 the 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 that 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 for at selected StayWell Pharmacies. The service is offered by specially trained StayWell Pharmacist vaccinators. To avail of the vaccination service, call the StayWell Pharmacy or simply book an appointment online where available for one of the shingles vaccines, for a time that is convenient for you.
- Zostavax is a single dose vaccine and is available for anyone aged 50 years and over ONLY
- 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
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 Zostavax ONE dose shingles vaccine click here
- For further information about the Shingrix Two dose shingles vaccine click here
The Shingles vaccines and its administration is subject to charge. Please contact your StayWell 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 reaction 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 Staywell Pharmacies* by clicking on the “Book” 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 StayWell Pharmacies only.
For more information see below about shingles, visit our FAQ page, or see Shingles - HSE.ie