Shingles vaccination rates fall again
Shingle vaccination rates have fallen below 50% and are the lowest since the programme began four years ago, according to data released by Public Health England (PHE).
An evaluation of vaccine coverage from September 2016 to August 2017 shows that vaccine coverage in the routine cohort of men and women aged 70 years was 48.3%. This represents a 13.5% decline since the start of programme (54.9% in 2015/16, 59% in 2014/15, 61.8% in 2013/14). A decrease in coverage was also observed in the catch-up cohort (aged 78 years) to 49.4% in 2016/17 (from 55.5% in 2015/16 and 57.8% in 2014/15).
PHE is urging GPs to continue to offer vaccinations to these cohorts as per current guidance.
The incidence and severity of shingles increase with age and an important complication is post-herpetic neuralgia. The aim of the vaccination programme is to reduce the incidence and severity of shingles in those targeted by the programme by boosting individuals’ pre-existing zoster virus immunity.