Older people urged to Keep Well and Prevent Shingles

Published: Monday 10th July 17

Wandsworth Council is supporting an NHS campaign to increase take up of the free one-time dose shingles vaccine for people aged 70 to 73 and 78 to 79.

The Keep Well and Prevent Shingles campaign is being run by the Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group, along with all London’s  CCGs. It comes after figures showed the capital has just a 48 per cent vaccination rate versus the rest of England on 55 per cent

Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the skin around it. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox, and usually affects a specific area on oneside of the body. A painful rash progresses into itchy blisters.

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. Those aged 78 and 79 can also be vaccinated 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 get their flu jab. Unlike the flu vaccine, the shingles vaccine only needs to be administered once

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.

The council’s health spokesman Cllr Paul Ellis said: “Shingles is a condition that is often hidden – people don’t talk about, don’t know they are at risk of getting it, and don’t know about the vaccine. This must change, and this campaign will help raise awareness of what can be an intensely painful disease.”

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.

Find out more at www.nhs.uk/conditions/Shingles

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ENDS

Notes to editors

More information about shingles:

After having chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in the nervous system and is kept under control by the immune system. However, when people get older it can reactivate and cause shingles. Most cases are probably caused by lowered immunity as a result of being older, stressed, taking medication that weakens the immune system or having conditions that affect the immune system.

You can’t give or catch shingles from somebody who is infected with it, however

you can get chickenpox from them if you have not had it before. Pregnant women or people with a weakened immune system who are exposed to someone with shingles or chickenpox and have not had chickenpox before should contact their GP.

There is no cure but treatment is available to help manage symptoms such as painkillers and covering the rash with clothing or (non stick) dressing to reduce the risk of other people becoming infected with chickenpox.

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