Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus hides in nerve endings, reactivating as shingles later, when the immune system is weakened by age or illness.

A quarter of adults will get shingles in their lifetime (all of whom will previously have had chickenpox) and the risk increases with age. There are around 50,000 cases among those aged 70-plus in England and Wales each year.

While shingles is usually mild, with pain around the blisters and sickness that can last several weeks, some suffer severe pain for years after their rash has healed, and around 50 Britons die from shingles each year, according to the Vaccine Knowledge Project at Oxford University.

The shingles vaccine aims to cut the risk of the condition and reduce the severity of the illness if it does develop. The NHS can offer the vaccination to specific cohort of patients according to their age and medical condition.

Shingles Vaccine | SHINGRIX (Zoster Vaccine Recombinant, Adjuvanted)