By Rachel Kayani
The Government has started its new shingle vaccine programme aimed at people over 70. This new vaccine programme has been introduced to prevent older people from developing shingles. The vaccine will be offered initially to people aged 70, 78 and 79, it is estimated around 800,000 Britons will be eligible during the first year.
After the initial phase, the vaccine programme will then be expanded to include all people aged 70 to 79-year-olds. Shingles is a painful condition caused by the herpes virus and will affect one in four adults in their lifetime. Shingles is related to chicken pox, following chicken pox (which most people get as a child) the virus lies dormant in the body, but it can be reactivated later in life if the immune system is weakened by illness and age. This is referred to as shingles and a red rash appears on the upper chest area that can be very painful. The Department of Health believes that the new vaccine programme with prevent the pain and discomfort of shingles and also save the NHS around £20 million a year in hospital stays, GP appointments and prescriptions.
Health minister Lord Howe said: “This new vaccine can prevent some of the most serious cases, giving people the chance to live without the discomfort and pain that shingles causes.”