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Clarifying Shingles Vaccination Eligibility

You may have seen some coverage on Good Morning Britain today about the shingles vaccine. We wanted to clarify the eligibility criteria, as it seemed to be causing some confusion in responses online.

From 1st September 2023, the eligibility has been extended, but this is a phased rollout meaning the eligibility is different depending if you are already 65 or if you are about to turn 65.

The table below shows the criteria. Please look up the group that describes you now.

Aged 50+ with weakened immune systemTwo doses in the year you turn 50
Aged 70-791 or 2 doses (6-12 months apart)
Turn 65 on or after 1 September 2023Eligible once you turn 65. Two doses, given 6-12 months apart.
Already 65 but not yet 70Eligible once you turn 70

The phased rollout means that people turning 65 are eligible, while those already 65 will become eligible when they are 70. Source NHS England, ‘NHS shingle vaccine will be offered to almost one million more people, 11 July 2023.

As we said, this is a phased expansion, with the aim of everyone aged 60 and above being eligible by 2033.

What is Shingles?

Shingles is an infection that causes a painful rash. The first symptom can be a tingling or painful feeling in an area of the skin, with a rash appearing a few days later. You may also develop a headache and feel generally unwell.

The rash appears as blotches on your skin but only on one side of your body.

Rashes can take up to four weeks to heal, and medicine works best if taken within three days of the symptoms first appearing.

You can’t give shingles to other people but, because it is caused by the chicken pox virus, you can give people chicken pox to people who haven’t had it before.

You should particularly avoid pregnant people who haven’t had chicken pox, people with weakened immune systems, and young babies.

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