Herpes zoster or, as it is commonly called, 'shingles' is a neurocutaneous disease characterised by the reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV), the virus that causes chickenpox, which is latent in the dorsal spinal ganglia when immunity to VZV declines. It is an extremely painful condition which can often last for many weeks or months, impairing the patient's quality of life. The natural aging process is associated with a reduction of cellular immunity which predisposes to herpes zoster. Vaccination with an attenuated form of VZV activates specific T cell production, therefore avoiding viral reactivation. A herpes zoster vaccine with an active virus has been approved for clinical use among older adults by the Food and Drug Administration and has been tested in large populations.