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Shingles Awareness Week 2024

As individuals age, the waning of their immune system can prevent a robust immune-response to the dormant varicella zoster virus (better known as chickenpox), allowing for the reactivation of the virus in later years and resulting in the vaccine preventable disease known as herpes zoster or shingles.¹  Older adults are at the greatest risk of shingles, with the highest burden in those aged 50 years and over and with potential negative health outcomes including bacterial skin infections, postherpetic neuralgia, and even hearing and vision complications.²  To improve understanding of the risks and complications associated with shingles as well as preventative actions such as vaccination, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) is actively engaging in Shingles Awareness Week (SAW) 2024.

Held from 26 February to 3 March 2024, Shingles Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise awareness of shingles as a vaccine preventable disease and foster increased knowledge and action. The most effective action against shingles is vaccination, yet vaccine uptake rates remain suboptimal, at best.  Among individuals over 50 years of age, only 27% reported having the vaccine in adulthood, with the most frequent reasons for non-vaccination according to the Public Health Agency of Canada being a lack of awareness and/or perceiving that the vaccines are not necessary.³   With healthcare systems under pressure, there is an urgent need to raise awareness of shingles as preventable, to understand the consequence of the disease, and most importantly, to encourage those concerned about shingles risks to speak to their healthcare provider about vaccination.

To mark Shingles Awareness Week the IFA will be hosting several events both during SAW and in the lead up to the week. See below for opportunities to engage in SAW and contact Policy and Project Coordinator Cera Cruise ( ) should you have any questions.

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Downloadable Resources

View, download and share these resources to help create awareness about Shingles.

Video: How much do you know about shingles


Podcast: Interview with Dr. Samir Sinha

The IFA is joined by Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of Health Policy Research at the National Institute on Ageing, Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network, and Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto to learn about the impact of shingles in Canada.

Mentioned on the podcast:

A Guide to Vaccines for Older Canadians


Shingles Fact Sheet

This fact sheet provides concise and comprehensive information about the causes, symptoms, treatments, and preventive measures related to shingles, a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This fact sheet serves as an educational tool for individuals seeking to understand the condition better, offering insights into risk factors, complications, and vaccination options.

Download the Shingles Fact Sheet here | Download the FAQ postcards here

Adaptable Resources

The following adaptable materials offer organizations the flexibility to customize the content with their logos, images, and color palettes. By seamlessly integrating these resources into their own social media channels and websites, organizations can effectively disseminate vital information about shingles. These tailored materials not only help raise awareness but also empower organizations to promote preventive measures within their communities. With the ability to personalize content, our resources ensure consistency with organizational branding while maximizing outreach and engagement.

Click on the images to download the resources.






Click here to download the IFA version







Click here to download the adaptable materials

Shingles Awareness Week 2024 Civil Society Organization (CSO) Support Session

​In an effort to support and encourage organizations invested in the health and well-being of older adults and those most at risk for shingles the IFA will be hosting a virtual support session on 6 February at 12.00pm EST. The purpose of this session is to bring together CSOs who are interested in engaging in SAW to better understand planned activities, synergistic opportunities and identify resources and supports to help foster increased engagement and amplify impact across Shingles Awareness Week 2024! Participating CSOs will also have the opportunity to inform the development of adaptable SAW resources which will be developed by IFA and shared with participating organization for further dissemination!

Registration is now closed.




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