Shingles vaccine available in Hazelhill Family Practice

Following a range of queries on this subject, we would like to confirm that the shingles vaccine is available from Hazelhill Family Practice.

This vaccine was in the news last week after it emerged the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) had said it would not be a good use of HSE resources to be made publicly available at its current price. They are currently undertaking a public consultation on the matter.

The shingles vaccine is the only way to protect against shingles. It also helps people avoid postherpetic neuralgia, a common complication associated with shingles.


Shingles is a viral infection that triggers a painful rash. It is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. That means that anyone who has had chickenpox previously in their life is at risk of catching shingles.

One common myth is that people catch shingles from someone with chickenpox. This isn’t true, you can’t get shingles from someone else with chickenpox or from someone with shingles.

What actually happens is the virus is already in your body from whenever you were originally infected with chickenpox. It can then be reactivated if someone’s immune system is lowered, perhaps due to aging, stress, certain conditions or treatments such as chemotherapy.

While you can’t catch shingles, someone can catch the chickenpox from someone who is suffering from shingles. This is because the chickenpox virus has been reactivated. Obviously only people who have never had chickenpox before can catch it in these circumstances.

Approximately 3 out of every 10 people who have had chickenpox will go on to have shingles at some point in their life.

Shingles can be a very severe condition. Recent figures published in the Irish Times show that between 2013 and 2022, 285 people were hospitalised with shingles on average each year. The same piece also says there were 54 deaths linked to shingles over that period.

If you experience shingles it is recommended that you see your GP as soon as possible.


The early signs of shingles tend to be:

  • Tingling or painful feeling in an area of the skin.
  • Headache or feeling generally unwell.
  • This will be followed by a rash after a few days.
  • In some rare cases, it is possible for shingles to cause pain without a rash appearing.

The shingles rash usually appears on your chest and stomach, but it may also pop up around your face, eyes and genitals.

Generally the rash appears as red blotches on your skin. It may form into a cluster, but only on one side of your body. So if you have the rash on both the left and right sides of your body it may not be shingles.

The blotches become itchy blisters that start to ooze fluid. Those will dry out and form scabs a few days later.

Your skin can remain painful even after the rash has gone. In some cases the skin can become so sensitive it may make even clothing or a light breeze uncomfortable.

If the rash appears around your eye it may make it sore and red. It can affect your sight or hearing and make it hard to move one side of your face.


The figures suggest that 3 out of every 10 people who have contracted chickenpox will develop shingles at some point in their life.

Those who are most at risk of shingles generally are:

  • Anyone aged over 50. Shingles generally impacts older adults.
  • Weakened Immune Systems. Anyone who is immunocompromised are more susceptible to the chickenpox virus in their system reactivating and causing shingles.
  • Those who suffer high levels of stress may also weaken their immune system, which again can lead to the chickenpox virus reactivating and causing shingles.


If you think you have contracted shingles, you should:

  • Arrange to see your GP as soon as possible.
  • Take paracetamol to ease the pain.
  • Try to keep the rash clean and dry to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing.
  • Use a cool compress a few times a day (so something like a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped up in a wet cloth or towel).
  • Do not use an antibiotic cream as this slows down the healing process.


The only sure way to avoid shingles is to take the Shingles Vaccine.

Two different types of shingles vaccine are available in Ireland, one is called Zostavax and the other is Shingrix. We offer both forms of shingles vaccine at Hazelhill Family Practice.

It should be noted that the shingles vaccine is expensive.

Zostavax involves a single dose, while Shingrix requires two separate doses taken 2 weeks apart.

Please let us know at least one week in advance so we can make sure we have sufficient stock of the shingles vaccine available.


To book your shingles vaccine appointment at Hazelhill Family Practice click here.

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