Shingles vaccination for 70-73 year olds
This summer NHS Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group together with all London CCGs is supporting a campaign to increase take up of the free one-time dose shingles vaccine for people aged 70 to 73 and 78 to 79 years of age.
The Keep Well and Prevent Shingles campaign comes after figures showed the capital has just a 48 per cent vaccination rate versus the rest of England on 55 per cent.
It is estimated that around one in four people aged over 70 will get shingles. But if people have the shingles vaccine, it will protect them against developing the illness and the long-term pain it can cause.
Anyone aged between 70 and 73 is entitled to the free shingles vaccination at any time, which can in most cases be given at the same time as the annual flu jab. Those aged 78 and 79 can also be treated, right up until their 80th birthday.
Local residents aged between 70 to 73 who are eligible for the vaccine are encouraged to get the shingles vaccine this summer ahead of the flu vaccine season at which point the 78 to 79 year olds should be vaccinated with their flu vaccine.
Eligible people are encouraged to call their GP practice to arrange the vaccination. GP practices in Wandsworth will also be inviting patients to attend for vaccination.
Nick Beavon, Chief Pharmacist, NHS Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group, and Chair of the London CCG Pharmacy Leads meeting, said: “Shingles can be a very painful illness that can take a long-time to recover from, yet many people are still not getting vaccinated. Some patients can go on to get chronic nerve pain.
Within Wandsworth, almost half of those eligible for the vaccine have yet to receive it.
I encourage everyone aged 70 – 73 to get vaccinated, and those aged 78 and 79 can also still be treated. Unlike the flu vaccine, the shingles vaccine only needs to be administered once.”
The campaign is supported by all London CCGs, NHS England London, Public Health England (London) and all London pharmacies, who will be running a signposting campaign throughout July supported by the #Shingles social media campaign.
What is shingles?
It is estimated that about one in four people over the age of 70 will get shingles. However, the risk is greater with advancing age, and the older you are, the worse the disease can be.
The painful, blistering rash that typically appears on one side of the face or body can last for two to four weeks, and for some, nerve pain, dizziness, hearing loss and eye infections can last for months or even years after visible symptoms go away.
In patients with immune deficiency, the rash can be much more extensive than usual and the illness can be complicated by pneumonia. These cases are more serious, but they are rarely fatal. Very rarely, shingles can also lead to pneumonia, brain inflammation (encephalitis), or death.