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U.K - Shingles Vaccine Proposed For all Those in Their 70s

Posted by ObeMike Thursday, June 3, 2010

source: Daily Mail
by: Jo Macfarlane

The Government plans a vaccination programme to protect against shingles.
Everyone aged between 70 and 79 would be vaccinated against the illness, which can be particularly severe in this age group and can lead to sufferers being hospitalised.

Department of Health officials are understood to be investigating whether the vaccine can be bought at a price to make the plan ‘cost-effective’.

The recommendation – which has not been triggered by any specific concern – was made by the Joint Committee

on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) at its meeting last October.

All recommendations by the JCVI based on cost-effectiveness must be implemented and funded by the Government.

The minutes of its meeting stated that the Herpes zoster [shingles] vaccination should be introduced to people aged between 70 and 79. ‘This age group was proposed as the duration of protection, based on current data, is estimated to be 7.5 years and infection is more severe and the burden of illness is greater in this age group,’ it was stated.

However, the committee stopped short of recommending childhood vaccination for chickenpox, the virus that leads to the development of shingles.

It said that mass immunisation of children would reduce their immunity against the virus and lead to an increase in shingles cases during adulthood.

Shingles causes a painful rash of blisters which can last for months. Although treatable with antiviral drugs, in severe cases sufferers experience chronic pain and can be admitted to hospital.

One quarter of all adults will get shingles during their lives.

Gillian Merron, the Minister for Public Health, said: ‘I welcome the recommendation that we should look for a cost-effective vaccine.

‘A vaccination programme would be good news for those in their 70s. It would improve quality of life by offering protection against this illness.’

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