Havering’s elderly residents offered free vaccinations to protect against shingles
PUBLISHED: 17:37 28 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:50 29 June 2017
Havering residents aged between 70 and 80 are being urged to have vaccinations to protect against shingles - which is estimated to affect one in four people over the age of 70.
The painful rash, also known as herpes zoster, comes from the same virus found in chickenpox but is a lot more serious, especially for older people, and can pose severe health risks,which in some very rare cases can cause pneumonia, brain inflammation or even death.
The symptoms, include a blistering rash on one side of the body or face, nerve pain, dizziness, hearing loss and eye infections, can last for weeks or months after the condition has been treated.
To limit the number of people affected by the condition The Office of London Clinical Commissioning Groups (LCCG) has launched the Keep Well and Prevent Shingles London-wide campaign to get more people to take up the offer of a free one-time dose vaccine at their GP.
With figures showing that the capital’s vaccination rate is 10per cent lower than the rest of the country – at 48pc – the LCCG has decided to act.
The vaccine protects against the virus itself and decreases your chances of getting it by 50pc, whilst those who do develop shingles after receiving the shot will experience a milder and less painful rash.
Those aged 70 and over can receive the free shingles vaccination at any time, which can be administered at the same time as the annual flu jab, until their 80th birthday.
Dr Debbie Frost, the campaign’s clinical commissioning leader, urged the public to get behind the campaign.
“The reason I’m passionate about the shingles immunisation is that anything that causes misery and disrupts the lives of our patients, which can easily be prevented, should be,” said Dr Frost. “And this is often the case with shingles.
“We bring our children to be vaccinated and take it very seriously, I wish we gave a similar priority to adults.”
All GPs and pharmacies have been sent a shingles vaccination pack.
The campaign will run from the end of June until October and has been backed by NHS England London and Public Health England.