Uptake of shingles jab must rise, warn experts as shocking figures show less than half of all 71-year-olds have had it

Photo of author
Written By Rivera Claudia

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur pulvinar ligula augue quis venenatis. 

The NHS must do more to tackle the low uptake of the shingles vaccine, a study suggests.

Last year it launched a jab called Shingrix for people over 70 to protect them from the skin condition – but latest figures show less than half of all 71-year-olds have had it.

The flu jab, in contrast, was last year received by about 80 per cent of over-65s.

And now a review carried out by health officials has found that sending postal invitations to those eligible for the crucial vaccine could significantly boost uptake.

More than 50,000 people catch shingles every year and nearly one in four develop it at some point in their life. The condition is linked to chickenpox – the highly contagious disease that leads to itchy, spotty rashes.

Less than half of all 71-year-olds have come forward to be vaccinated against shingles, a study has found

While not usually serious if caught as chickenpox at an early age, the virus can potentially reactivate later in life as shingles and appear as a blotchy red rash that blisters

While not usually serious if caught as chickenpox at an early age, the virus can potentially reactivate later in life as shingles and appear as a blotchy red rash that blisters

If caught at a young age, chickenpox is not usually serious, but the varicella-zoster virus which causes it remains within the spinal-cord nerves for life. 

It is kept in check by the immune system, but this weakens with age, potentially allowing the virus to reactivate and strike again as shingles, where it appears as a blotchy, red rash that blisters. 

It tends to sits on one side of the chest or abdomen but can develop anywhere on the body. Often coupled with headaches and nausea, the rash can be extremely painful and may last several weeks. A fifth of shingles patients will experience nerve-pain for months after the infection.

While officials are concerned that not enough people are taking up the offer of Shingrix, a UK Health Security Agency study, published last week in the medical journal Vaccine, found that GP practices in Wales that invited patients to get the jab saw the uptake improve by ten per cent.

‘It’s more likely that people don’t know about the jab rather than not wanting it,’ says Prof Adam Finn, a vaccine expert at the University of Bristol.

‘Shingles is awful. You’d be mad not to get the vaccine.’

SOURCE

Leave a Comment