UK-wide shingles jab plan shelved
Published on 20 February 2012 11:00 AM
A shingles vaccine shortage has put paid to the Government's plans to immunise older people against the disease.
In 2010, the Government was advised to offer the jab to people aged between 70 and 79, but vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur MSD revealed that not enough injections are available to issue a national immunisation programme for people in this age category.
Instead, the company revealed that its 60,000 available doses will be given to private patients after it held discussions with the Department of Health (DOH).
A nationwide immunisation roll-out will occur in the future when enough vaccines become available, the DOH said.
A DOH spokeswoman said: 'We want to introduce a national shingles immunisation programme and are disappointed that there is not enough vaccine available to do this.
'When we are assured by industry that sufficient quantities can be supplied at the right price, we will start the programme.'
Affecting one in four people, shingles is characterised by a painful skin rash and is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.
It lies dormant in the spine of the patient after they have recovered from chickenpox and the virus can resurface later in life in the form of shingles.
Copyright Press Association 2012