Shingles vaccine to be offered routinely for the elderly
People in their 70’s in the UK will be offered a vaccine to prevent shingles starting this September.
It has been recommended for many years that routine vaccination be the case and now this Government-led programme will be initially for those aged 70, 78 and 79.
Elderly people and those with a compromised immune system are most at risk of develping shingles and this should prevent almost half the cases of the disease.
Around 800,000 people will be eligible to receive it in the first year in England alone.
The shingles jab for the elderly has be estimated to cost about £25m a year in England say the Department of Health but would save about £20m a year with fewer hospital stays, doctors appointments and prescriptions not too mention the suffering from shingles which at the very least causes a painful rash.
Previously elderly people have paid between £150 and £200 to get the vaccine privately if they wanted protection from shingles.
From September, those aged 70 and 79 in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be offered the shingles jab and in Wales the 78 and 79 year olds will be targeted.
The programme over the next few years will widen to include those in the 70-79 age group across the UK until all this age group have been fully covered.
Following this, the injection will only need to be offered to people as they reach their 70th birthday.
Shingles occurs when an old chicken pox infection is reactivated and affects the nerves and skin and in the worst cases it can cause complications such as hearing loss or brain swelling.
- You can catch chicken pox from someone with shingles if you have not had chicken pox before
- You cannot catch shingles from someone with the shingles
Shingles can be a nasty disease for the elderly causing long-term health problems for many. The vaccination will help to prevent the number of cases and unecessary pain, suffering and in the very worst cases, death.