Routine shingles vaccinations for people in their 70s
Published on 30 April 2013 11:30 AM
People over the age of 70 are to be offered routine shingles vaccinations from September in a move to prevent thousands of cases each year, officials have said.
More than 30,000 pensioners in England are affected by the viral infection annually. Experts believe the new vaccination programme could cut the number by 40%.
Initially, people aged 70, 78 and 79 will be targeted with the Zostavax vaccine on the NHS.
The programme will begin by inviting people aged 70 and 79 from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to receive the vaccination.
In Wales the first people to be offered the vaccine with be aged 78 and 79.
The Department of Health (DH) added that people aged up to 79 will be able to take part in a 'catch up programme'.
The programme will systematically call on different age groups between 70 and 79 over the next few years to receive their jab.
Once the UK is fully covered, the vaccine will only be offered to people in the UK as they approach their 70th birthday.
A DoH spokesman said that 800,000 people will be eligible for the vaccine in the first year.
At present, some pay between £150 and £200 to get the jab privately.
Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. It causes a painful rash which develops into itchy blisters. It can occur at any age, but is most common in people who are over 50.
Officials announced the move as part of changes to the UK's immunisation schedule.
Copyright Press Association 2013