Don’t forget to get your shingles vaccine

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The Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding all people aged 70, 78 and 79 years old that they are still able to receive the shingles vaccine.

The vaccine will help protect them against the common and painful skin disease and its complications.

Dr Lucy Jessop, Consultant in Health Protection at the PHA, said: “Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you recover from chickenpox, some of the virus remains inactive in the body and nervous system. It can then reactivate later in life when your immune system is weakened. About a quarter of adults will get shingles at some point in their life.

“For most people shingles can be a mild infection with good recovery. But it can be very painful and uncomfortable and tends to affect people more commonly as they get older. The older people are, the worse it can be, with some people left with pain lasting for years after the initial rash has healed.

“It is estimated that the vaccination programme will prevent nearly 40% of the hundreds of cases seen every year in Northern Ireland in people over 70 and reduce the severity of the symptoms for those who do develop the condition.”