London Travel Clinic

Shingles Vaccination

What is it?

If you have ever had chicken pox you can get shingles. The chicken pox virus stays in your body and can later resurface as Shingles — a painful, blistering rash. A new vaccine, Zostavax, is available and it can reduce your risk of getting shingles. It is available to anyone aged 50 years and over.

Can I get Shingles?

Anyone who has had chicken pox is susceptible to shingles, particularly those over the age of 50. Diseases that affect the immune system (e.g. non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and HIV), certain medications, stress and depression are thought to contribute to the re-activation of the virus.

What are the symptoms?

The first symptoms are a headache, mild nausea and malaise, but these are hardly ever attributed to shingles as so many conditions start the same way.  The first true sign of shingles is a burning sensation under the skin followed a day or two later by the appearance of a rash, concentrated in one area.

How long does it last?

Two to three days after the painful burning sensations starts, a rash appears, turning to small blisters and red, swollen skin. After a few more days, the blisters burst and form sores, which eventually develop scabs. For most, this painful process lasts a few weeks.

For others, the area becomes very painful after the scabs have disappeared and this unpleasant pain can last for several weeks and even years. 

Is it contagious?

Shingles is contagious and contact with a person who has shingles or chickenpox may cause chickenpox, while contact with a person with shingles or chickenpox cannot cause shingles.

Can Shingles Reoccur?

Yes. Once the virus is present in the body, it doesn’t leave, but rather lies “dormant” until it flares up again.

Vaccine Schedule

One dose

Booster – not required


Note - Zostavax vaccine is a live immunisation. If you require other live vaccinations such as Measles, Mumps & Rubella (MMR), Varicella (Chicken Pox) Yellow Fever or a TB vaccine (BCG) then Zostavax must be given on the same day or separated by 4 weeks.

For further disease and country recommendations information visit:

Fit For Travel or Nathnac



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