Shingrix jabs - eligibilty criteria

Cyclistkate Member Posts: 5
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:11 in Living with arthritis

I am just wondering what people’s experience has been with the broadening of availability of the Shingrix shingles vaccination? I am 66 and so don’t meet the age criteria due to the way the NHS is rolling it out across the 65-69 age group, but I have been told by my GP that my methotrexate dose of 15mg per week is too low to meet the ‘immuno-compromised’ criteria which applies to people from age 50! I have investigated paying for it privately but the 2 doses cost a minimum of £450 which I cannot afford. Has anybody been told anything different? I am going to contact my rheumatology service to see if they can help.


  • Louisa77
    Louisa77 Administrator Posts: 245

    Hi @Cyclistkate

    Welcome to the Online Community - we are a friendly supportive group, hope this is your experience.

    Hopefully some of the members will be along to answer your query, in the meantime here is a little about Vaccinations | Side-effects, protection and infection (

    Best wishes


    Need more help? Call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,032

    That's a good idea @Cyclistkate

    will you let us know if rheumatology helped at all? There will be other people here in your position.

    That age criteria is a bit mad isn't it?


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,608


    I don't know how relevant my experience will be but, for what it's worth....

    I live in Scotland. I'm 77. I thought people were only advised of any shingles jab when they hit 70. I also thought the shingrix one only came out a couple of years ago. I was advised to book my shingles jab lasr year but forgot until it was too late.! I got another letter this year and jumped in quick.

    I said I'd need the shingrix and was asked my dose of meth. I told them I was down to 10mgs weekly now (previously 22.5) and hydroxychloroquine. She said, on that dose, I wouldn't need the shingrix one but she'd ask. I said, truthfully, I'd been told never to have the regular one. When she called back she said no problem. Shingrix for me. I had them earlier this year. Job done!

    I don't know who she asked but I doubt my GPs or rheumatologist would sanction the regular one for me. Maybe she checked my medical records and saw I'd graced re-sus twice! Who knows?

    Until now (and I'll still continue) I've just avoided any kids with chicken pox and anyone who hàs had contact with them.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 609

    Hi @Cyclistkate

    I think there's a lot of confusion over who is eligible for the shingles vaccine. Here's the page detail -

    From 1 September 2023, you're eligible for the shingles vaccine when you turn 65.

    You'll be offered 2 doses of the vaccine. These are given between 6 and 12 months apart.

    Your GP should contact you to make an appointment to have your shingles vaccine. Contact your GP surgery if you think you're eligible for the shingles vaccine and you've not been contacted about it.

    You'll remain eligible until your 80th birthday.


    If you turned 65 before 1 September 2023, you'll be eligible for the shingles vaccine when you turn 70.

    So it would appear that if you turn 65 after 1 September 2023 you are eligible for the vaccine. However if you are already 65 before that date you'll get it when you turn 70. This seems bonkers to me.

    Also there's a different UK government Green Book listing for eligibility for the shingles vaccine than there is for the covid vaccine. It's under Chapter 28 of the Green Book whereas covid vaccine was under Chapter 14 .

    Individuals on immunosuppressive or immunomodulating therapy including:

    ● those who are receiving or have received in the past 6 months immunosuppressive chemotherapy or radiotherapy for any indication

    ● those who are receiving or have received in the previous 6 months immunosuppressive therapy for a solid organ transplant

    ● those who are receiving or have received in the previous 3 months targeted therapy for autoimmune disease, such as JAK inhibitors or biologic immune modulators including

    ● B-cell targeted therapies (including rituximab but for which a 6 month period should be considered immunosuppressive), monoclonal tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi), T-cell co-stimulation modulators, soluble TNF receptors, interleukin (IL)-6 receptor inhibitors.,

    ● IL-17 inhibitors, IL 12/23 inhibitors, IL 23 inhibitors (N.B: this list is not exhaustive)

    Individuals with chronic immune mediated inflammatory disease who are receiving or have received immunosuppressive therapy

    ● moderate to high dose corticosteroids (equivalent ≥20mg prednisolone per day) for more than 10 days in the previous month

    ● long term moderate dose corticosteroids (equivalent to ≥10mg prednisolone per day for more than 4 weeks) in the previous 3 months

    ● any non-biological oral immune modulating drugs e.g. methotrexate >20mg per week (oral and subcutaneous), azathioprine >3.0mg/kg/day; 6-mercaptopurine >1.5mg/kg/day, mycophenolate >1g/day) in the previous 3 months

    ● certain combination therapies at individual doses lower than stated above, including those on ≥7.5mg prednisolone per day in combination with other immunosuppressants (other than hydroxychloroquine or sulfasalazine) and those receiving methotrexate (any dose) with leflunomide in the previous 3 months

    Individuals who have received a short course of high dose steroids (equivalent >40mg prednisolone per day for more than a week) for any reason in the previous month. 

  • Yes, its the chapter 28 which is being used to determine who is or isn’t eligible at this point. I ‘fail’ on the age criteria as I’m already 66 and also ‘fail’ on the immuno-suppression category. So basically I’m stuffed until I hit 70, unless they change the criteria between now and then. Interestingly, I spoke to our practice nurse who does all the vaccine ordering and even the NHS is being charged £190 a dose by Glaxo Smith Kline. My experience of shingles has been with my mum who got it at 79. She was really ill, in fact the only time I can remember her taking to her bed, and, probably coincidentally she started showing signs of Alzheimers 6 months later. So, as you can imagine, I was so pleased when I saw they had reduced the age - only to be disappointed.

  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 609

    Hi @Cyclistkate

    After reading your initial post I began to wonder where I sat in all of this. I'm 68 so like you I fall into the catergory of those between 65 and 70 who have to wait until 70. However I am immunocompromised as I'm on the biologic adalimumab - a TNF inhibitor - so should qualify. I've heard nothing up till now so called my GP yesterday. In my health board area GPs have nothing to do with the administration nor administering either covid or shingles vaccine it's controlled by a vaccines unit. Which is fine when it works but not when there's a problem as the unit is staffed by non-clinical staff. In my case I'd had an issue accessing the 3rd primary dose of the covid vaccine back in late 2021. It turned out my GP hadn't listed me as 'shielding' on my health record even though I was immunocompromised due to taking adalimumab and 20mgs MTX. They said they had rectified this but the vaccines unit said no. I eventually contacted my rheumatology nurse who sorted it out for me by emailing a special contact set up in the vaccines unit. I eventually moved GP this summer due to continuing lack of help and support as well as a standard 10 day wait for a telephone appointment and 21 days for a face to face. So I called my new GP yesterday and after explaining the reason for the call - and being told that GPs have nothing to do with vaccines - the practice manager checked my records and sure enough the flag showing my immunocompromised state had never been set by my previous GP and my new GP practice hadn't pick that up.

    So I then went down the rabbit hole of trying to contact the vaccines unit - eventually calling the health board head office who patched me through. The agent I spoke to confirmed my records didn't show I qualified for this vaccination, checked with their supervisor, explained they were non-medical and suggested I wait till January 2024 to see if I get a letter - and if not contact them again.

    So I contacted the patient advice and support service who said the only thing I can do is raise a complaint which I've now done.

    Talk about pushing water up a hill !

  • Runningman
    Runningman Member Posts: 4

    I was advised to get the Shingles jab (Shingrix?) prior to starting biologic injections (Adalimumab) by my biologic nurse. I just called my GPs and told them what I was advised and they agreed to give me the 2 doses 6 weeks apart. Surprised it was that easy. That was just over 12 months ago when i was 52.

  • Runningman
    Runningman Member Posts: 4

    From the NHS website:

    You're eligible for the shingles vaccine if you're aged 50 or over and you're at higher risk from shingles because you have a severely weakened immune system.

    This includes:

    • some people with blood cancer (such as leukaemia or lymphoma)
    • some people with HIV or AIDS
    • some people who've recently had a stem cell transplant, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or an organ transplant
    • people taking certain medicines that severely weaken the immune system

    You'll be given 2 doses of the shingles vaccine. These are given between 8 weeks and 6 months apart.