Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus.  Once we have had chickenpox, the virus stays in our bodies.  The virus can reactivate when we are older causing shingles which can be painful.  For some people the pain can last for months or even years.

Since September 1, 2015, the shingles vaccine has been routinely available to people aged 70 and 78. You become eligible for the vaccine after you’ve turned 70 years of age at any point between September 1, 2013 and September 1, 2018 (inclusive) or aged 78 or 79 years at the point of vaccination.

Further NHS information is available here


Pneumonia affects about 5-10 people per 1,000 of the adult population – it isn’t seasonal and can affect you at any time of the year.

Adults aged 65 or older tend to suffer more severely and with more complications, so are eligible for a free NHS vaccination (Pneumovax). Younger patients who are particularly susceptible to severe infection or complications may also be eligible.

Your GP may offer you the vaccination if you are eligible or you can book an appointment with the practice nurse. In most circumstances one vaccination will last you the rest of your life, unless you have certain illnesses such as chronic kidney failure or you have had your spleen removed, in which case you need a booster every five years.

Whooping Cough (Pertussis) vaccination for pregnant women

Following an increase in outbreaks of whooping cough, women who are over 16 weeks pregnant are advised to have the whooping cough vaccination.  Please telephone the surgery to book an appointment.

Further information from the Department of Health is available here