Shingles vaccination programme

Published on: Friday, 29-August-2014

A shingles vaccine programme will run from 1 September 2014 until 31 August 2015 and will be available to those who are 70 years of age during these dates. The vaccine will also be available for individuals who are 78 and 79 year of age as part of a “catch up” campaign. People who are eligible will be invited by their GP.

Shingles can be very painful and while it can affect all age groups, it tends to affect people more  as they get older, especially aged 70 and above. It is estimated that around 250,000 people are affected in England and Wales each year, including 30,000 people in their 70s. Around one in 1,000 people over 70 who get shingles die of the infection.

A misconception of shingles is that it can be ‘caught’ from someone who has chickenpox, but in reality, the person will already have had chickenpox, and the virus has reactivated into shingles. If the person has shingles’ blisters, the virus in the fluid can infect someone who has not had chickenpox which then may develop into chickenpox.

Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Knowsley, said “Shingles is most common in older people so the new vaccine programme and catch up campaign for those who are 70, 78 and 79 years of age, can help to reduce the chance of developing the condition by a third. As people are attending for their seasonal flu vaccinations, it’s the ideal time to ask about having their shingles vaccine too, if they fall within the eligible age groups.  If you are invited by your GP, I would encourage you to get vaccinated.”

For further information, speak to your GP or practice nurse or visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk/shingles