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Shingles and the free vaccine

(28 Posts)
MarianNicholson Tue 12-Oct-21 18:32:46

My gran had bad shingles, she was mildly demented and would howl with pain. So when I developed it in my early 60s I was prepared for the worst. I was actually lucky in that it was never more than an extreme nuisance. But years later, I still have about 10% of that pain still going on. But if it has been worse, I could have had gran's "howling level" of pain! This is why I encourage everyone in their 70s to get vaccinated against shingles. If your GP doesn't offer it, you ask for it!!! Zostavax is free to everyone in their 70s and although not perfect it will reduce your risk of long term pain by about 80%! Safe even if you are not sure if you've had chickenpox. (Shingles is the name for a repeat appearance of your chickenpox virus which can be many years later.)

Grandma70s Tue 12-Oct-21 18:38:07

I was at the surgery the moment I was eligible for the vaccine. I don’t fancy shingles at all. A neighbour of my parents had long term pain as a result of it, though of course most don’t.

BlueBelle Tue 12-Oct-21 18:51:35

Me too Grandma I had mine 6+ years ago does it last for ever or do we get another after 10 years same for pneumonia ?

Callistemon Tue 12-Oct-21 19:35:50

This is why I encourage everyone in their 70s to get vaccinated against shingles

Just be aware that not everyone should have the shingles vaccine as it is a live vaccine.

Anyone with a suppressed immune system is usually advised not to have it. That is unfortunate as someone who is immuno-suppressed could be more susceptible to shingles.

I understand a non-live vaccine may be in the pipeline 🤞 because shingles can be very unpleasant.

Chewbacca Tue 12-Oct-21 19:54:54

4 weeks after getting his shingles vaccination my friend's husband became really quite ill with shingles. He's still suffering with nerve pain around his back several months later.

MayBee70 Tue 12-Oct-21 19:55:58

When I had my flu jab last year the pharmacist told me that she knew of people that had had the shingles vaccine and had then developed shingles. It hasn’t put me off having it, which should be soon but it did worry me a bit.

Trisha57 Tue 12-Oct-21 20:04:37

MayBee70 and Chewbacca I was reluctant to post my friend's experience for fear of being labelled a scaremonger, but you have reflected what she said. She had her first shingles vaccination at age 75 and a week or so later went down with a fairly bad dose of shingles. I think it depends on your general health and immune system. She was not very active, quite overweight and did suffer from several other general health problems. Having said that, I will have the vaccine as soon as I am elegible!

annodomini Tue 12-Oct-21 20:17:43

I just happened to see a poster in the waiting room telling me I had to have the shingles vaccination before I was 80. This was just before I was 79. I asked the receptionist who then found that there was an available slot that afternoon. I was anxious to get it as my sister had it very badly and still has nerve pains when she's stressed.

Missedout Tue 12-Oct-21 20:58:35

There is now available a non-live shingles vaccine called Shingrix for people with weakened immune systems.

Callistemon Tue 12-Oct-21 21:44:23

Thank you Missedout

BigBertha1 Tue 12-Oct-21 21:53:24

Bit late for me already had Shingles twice. Not nice. Definitely recommend the vaccine

Forsythia Tue 12-Oct-21 22:08:39

I’ve had shingles twice in the past 5 years. The first time was the worst pain I’ve experienced despite childbirth and treatment for breast cancer. The pain was so bad I couldn’t sleep at all. I was prescribed a variety of pills to help me and, gradually, it went away. The second time was not so bad and lasted two weeks with the rash. If I could get that vaccine I’d even pay for it. I would never want to go through it again.

M0nica Wed 13-Oct-21 17:05:07

Both my mother and her sister had shingles in their 60s, their pain and suffering meant that I was first in the queue when the shingles vax became available.

DD had it on her face and around her eyes when she was in her early 20s. Not a nice experience.

JenniferEccles Wed 13-Oct-21 23:02:07

Shingles is such a nasty thing, so very painful.

I also wonder if the vaccine is a one off or if we need another one after a certain number of years.

I believe there is an anti-viral drug which if taken within about 48 hours of the first symptoms, significantly reduces the severity of the attack.

Callistemon Wed 13-Oct-21 23:10:00

JenniferEccles

Shingles is such a nasty thing, so very painful.

I also wonder if the vaccine is a one off or if we need another one after a certain number of years.

I believe there is an anti-viral drug which if taken within about 48 hours of the first symptoms, significantly reduces the severity of the attack.

I got an anti-viral drug very quickly the first time I got shingles, JenniferEccles, can't remember the name of it now.

The 2nd time I got it a different GP gave me the cheap generic version but it didn't work well and made me very nauseous.

GrannySomerset Wed 13-Oct-21 23:18:43

There was a point when people in their mid-70s were not eligible though the age groups either side were. I paid to have mine at the local pharmacy because I couldn’t afford to risk being ill. Peace of mind and well worth the cost - about £160 if I remember rightly.

JenniferEccles Thu 14-Oct-21 00:18:50

I must try to find out how long the vaccine protects us. I’m sure I read somewhere that it doesn’t give lifelong immunity.
Like you GrannySomerset I would be willing to pay if I wasn’t able to have it again at the surgery.

Some poor folk continue to suffer pain for months after the rash has healed.

nanna8 Thu 14-Oct-21 00:45:09

I put off having it for a couple of years because my husband had a really bad reaction to it so I was scared. Eventually I had it and had no reaction at all. I had actually had a second dose of chicken pox as an adult a few years previously which surprised me because I always thought you could only get it once. Perhaps it was actually shingles but very mild, who knows ?

Whiff Thu 14-Oct-21 06:53:37

Shingles isn't just a disease you can get as you get older. Once you have had chicken pox the virus is still in your blood stream. My son had shingles when he was in his 20's . He was very ill and in agony. He has a large scar on the back of his neck from it .

My nan had them twice once when she was in her 60's then in her 80's.

Once I am 70 I will get the jab. Got 7 years to wait. Both my children paid and had my grandson's vaccinated against chicken pox as soon as they where old enough.

People forget how deadly childhood illnesses can be. Measles and whopping cough are on the rise. Because parents aren't having their children vaccinated. To me that's madness who would let their child suffer when they don't have to.

Saying that my son got measles from the vaccine. But he only had it mildly not full blown measles. I am very much pro vaccines of all types.

Ashcombe Thu 14-Oct-21 07:07:41

BigBertha1

Bit late for me already had Shingles twice. Not nice. Definitely recommend the vaccine

So have I, aged 19 and 63, but was still recommended to have the vaccination when I reached 70, which I happily accepted. Yes, Callistemon, I was given the antiviral tablets the second time around. If taken early enough, it can reduce the severity of the illness.

www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/treatment.html

Franbern Thu 14-Oct-21 08:58:32

GrannySomerset

There was a point when people in their mid-70s were not eligible though the age groups either side were. I paid to have mine at the local pharmacy because I couldn’t afford to risk being ill. Peace of mind and well worth the cost - about £160 if I remember rightly.

It was a strange roll-out for this vaccine. With one year at the lowest end of the ten year age group and one at the top end. Then then the following yhear this was repeated (obviously two different years). I just happened to be in the year group that was last in that roll out. Had it 24 hours after I made elibility.
Once the original roll out was completed it is now available to anyone aged 70 - 80 years of age through your GP.

Other people can pa to have this.

My strong, extremely healthy Dad caught shingles (I suspect from my children) in his seventies and the pain lasted for the rest his life (he died aged 84).

henetha Thu 14-Oct-21 11:00:01

I missed out on the shingles jab when I was 79 because I was having knee replacement very soon aftewards and was told it was unadvisable to have the jab so near to having surgery.
I wonder if I could ask for it now? Strangely, the person who gave me the covid booster jab this week asked me if I had had shingles. I have no idea why.

Franbern Fri 15-Oct-21 09:18:47

Not sure, but think the advice is that it is not necessary for anyone over the age of 80 years, but worth asking GP.

Witzend Fri 15-Oct-21 09:24:47

Having had shingles once - thankfully not too badly but still something I wouldn’t care to repeat - I had the jab as soon as I was eligible. I had no reaction to it at all.

Is it really not considered necessary for anyone over 80, Franbern?
Although my mother died some years ago, we are still in touch with her lovely cleaning lady, who I’m sure must have been at least 80 when she had shingles very badly a couple of years ago. She wasn’t all that much older than my mother (who’d have been 103 now!) when she used to come and help.

ExDancer Fri 15-Oct-21 09:27:00

I also have had shingles twice and both times was given some medication (can't remember the name but it ended in 'vax') and it wasn't too bad. Not nice though, so I got the vaccination as soon as I was eligible.
I would recommend it to everyone who's suitable as it's not at all pleasant, even a mild dose.