Vaccinations & travel medicine

What is shingles?

Behind it hides a skin rash that, like chickenpox (varicella), is caused by varicella zoster viruses. Most adults over the age of 50 have experienced chickenpox in their lifetime. In this case, viruses nest in the nerve cells of the body. When the immune system weakens - for example, in old age - the viruses can become active again.

They then cause a painful, one-sided, stripy rash with blisters - shingles (zoster). The painful inflammation of the nerves can persist for a long time even after the rash has subsided (post-herpetic neuralgia). If shingles occurs in the face or eyes, partial or complete blindness may result from corneal scarring. Shingles most commonly affects older adults and people with a weakened immune system.

Shingles is less contagious than chickenpox. Only the fluid in the vesicles of the rash is infectious. You can only become infected if you have neither had chickenpox nor have been vaccinated against chickenpox. An infection then initially causes chickenpox.

Who and when should be vaccinated against shingles?

The STIKO recommends vaccination against shingles (herpes zoster) for all persons over the age of 60.
There are further groups of people who may require vaccination.

The inactivated vaccine is vaccinated twice at intervals of at least 2 months and a maximum of 6 months.
A booster vaccination is currently not recommended.

How is the shingles vaccination carried out and what must be taken into account?

The shingles vaccine is a dead vaccine. The vaccination is given into your upper arm muscle.

After the vaccination against shingles, the stimulation of the body's own defenses very often leads to redness or swelling at the injection site, which may also hurt. General symptoms such as headache, fatigue, fever or muscle aches may also occur in the first three days after the vaccination. Itching at the injection site is also common. Occasionally lymph nodes swell or joints ache. Such vaccination reactions are usually short-lived and subside after one to three days.

What should I do if I think shingles vaccination is useful?

To check whether you have been vaccinated, simply make an appointment for a vaccination status check at one of our Avi Medical practices and talk to our medical team. They will advise you in detail whether you are already protected or whether you should receive a vaccination. The doctors will also check whether there are other vaccinations that would be useful for you and will carry these out directly if necessary.