All people between the ages of 70 and 79 will be vaccinated against shingles, health authorities in England have announced.

The vaccination will be offered first to people who were 79 years old on 1 September 2013 – yesterday – and will then be rolled out to thousands of others over the coming years.

Those eligible for vaccination can expect to be contacted by their doctor. Public Health England estimates 800,000 people will be eligible for the vaccine in the first year.

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. It can be extremely  painful.