There has been a fall in coverage in the shingles vaccine according to new data released by Public Health England.
The data showed a 2% drop in coverage, from 39.8% to 37.8%, for 70-year-olds for the September 2015 to November 2015 compared to the same period the previous year. The data also found a small drop of 0.4% for 78-year-olds, a fall to 38.2% down from 38.6%.
‘We offer the shingles vaccine routinely to individuals at the age of 70 years to boost their immunity to prevent the development of shingles,’ said Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE. ‘It can significantly reduce the incidence of post herpetic neuralgia – persistent nerve pain that can occur at the site of a previous attack of shingles.’
The shingles vaccine is currently offered to people who were aged 70 years on 1 September 2015. People who were aged 78 years on 1 September are also eligible to get vaccinated. Those who were eligible for immunisation in the first two years of the programme but have not yet been vaccinated against shingles remain eligible until their 80th birthday.
‘Since the introduction of the shingles vaccine there has been a considerable reduction in the number of cases of this debilitating and painful condition,’ added Dr Ramsay.