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Low shingles vaccination rates in Thurrock

IN September 2013, a new national vaccination programme against shingles was introduced for older adults.

Shingles is a viral infection of the nerve cells that develops as a result of a reactivation of the same virus that causes chicken pox.

Shingles can develop at any time following chicken pox infection and can occur in individuals of any age. However, the risk and severity of shingles increases with age. It can result in persistent pain or skin infections that may require hospitalisation. These reactions affect adults aged 70 and above much more than younger adults.

Nationally, over half of those eligible have had the shingles vaccine. In England, 59 percent of the eligible population have been vaccinated.

However, in Thurrock, only 45.5 percent have been vaccinated. This figure is lower than any other area in Essex and Southend.

The purpose of the immunisation programme is to reduce the number of new cases of shingles and the severity of the disease in adults aged 70 and above. It should be offered to those who on 1 September 2015 were aged: 70, 71, 72, 78 and 79.

It is particularly important that older people aged 79 have advantage because the vaccination is not offered to those aged 80 and over. This is because evidence shows that the vaccine becomes less effective after this time.

Cllr James Halden, Portfolio Holder for Health stated: “It is important that older people in Thurrock are aware of the shingles vaccine because it can reduce ill health and complications caused by the shingles virus.

“Therefore, I would encourage all eligible residents in Thurrock to go to their GP and have their shingles vaccination.”

If you are aged 70-72 and especially those aged 78 and 79 on 1 September 2015, please speak to your GP or health care professional to request a shingles vaccine.

For more information, visit: nhs.uk/shingles

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