Press release

Eligible groups for shingles vaccine announced

The PHE announcement follows a letter issued to healthcare professionals about eligibility for the 2015 to 2016 vaccination programme.

Public Health England (PHE) has announced the groups eligible to receive the shingles vaccine from the start of September for the 2015 to 2016 vaccination programme.

From 1 September 2015, the shingles vaccine will be offered routinely to people aged 70 years, and the catch up will extend to those aged 78 years.

In addition, patients who were eligible for immunisation in the first 2 years of the programme but have not yet been vaccinated against shingles remain eligible until their 80th birthday. These groups are:

  • people aged 71 and 72 on 1 September 2015
  • people aged 79

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox), which is commonly caught in childhood.

After a person has had chickenpox, the virus can lie dormant in the nervous tissue but may reappear as shingles. An episode of shingles typically lasts around two to four weeks. The main symptoms are pain, followed by a rash. It is possible to have shingles more than once.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE said:

We encourage people in the eligible age groups to contact their GP to get vaccinated.

Shingles is an important disease to prevent, particularly among older people. We offer the shingles vaccine routinely to individuals at the age of 70 years to boost their immunity to prevent the development of shingles in later years and significantly reduce the incidence of post herpetic neuralgia – persistent nerve pain that can occur at the site of a previous attack of shingles.

We’re hoping to repeat the success of the 2014 to 2015 vaccination campaign. By the end of April 2015, over half of all 70, 78 and 79 year-olds had been vaccinated against shingles. This represents a significant achievement and will result in a considerable reduction in the number of cases of this debilitating and painful condition.

Background

  1. Public Health England exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities. It does this through world-class science, knowledge and intelligence, advocacy, partnerships and the delivery of specialist public health services. PHE is an operationally autonomous executive agency of the Department of Health. Website: www.gov.uk/phe. Twitter: @PHE_uk, Facebook: www.facebook.com/PublicHealthEngland

  2. The universal routine herpes zoster (shingles) vaccination programme for adults aged over 70 years started in September 2013. Coverage in the second year of the programme is 48.7% for 70 year olds and 50.3% for 79 year olds.

PHE Press Office, infections

61 Colindale Avenue
London
NW9 5EQ