Over 70s in Scarborough and Ryedale are being urged to get vaccinated against shingles.
Eligibility depends on age and date of birth, but anyone born after 1 September 1942 is eligible on their 70th birthday and remains eligible up until they are 80. Patients born before this will become eligible on their 78th birthday and will also remain eligible up until they are 80.
There is a cohort of people aged 76 and 77 who are currently not eligible but who will become eligible on their 78th birthday.
An estimated 50,000 cases of shingles occur in people aged 70 years and above each year in England and Wales.
Eligible patients are being advised to contact their GP practice to make an appointment to have the vaccination. The NHS says it’s “safe and may be more convenient for you to have the shingles vaccine at the same time as your flu vaccine”.
Dr Greg Black, NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Body member and clinical lead for medicines, said: “Shingles isn’t like other infectious diseases because you don’t catch it from someone else. It can be very painful and tends to affect people more commonly as they get older.
“For some, the pain caused by shingles can last for many years. Shingles can really affect your life, stopping you from doing all the things you usually enjoy.
“By having the vaccination you will significantly reduce your chance of developing shingles, and unlike the annual flu jab, you will only have the vaccination once.
“Side effects are usually quite mild and don’t last very long and, if you do go on to have shingles after the vaccine, the symptoms are likely to be milder and the illness shorter, than if you had not had it.”
Approximately 20 per cent of shingles cases develop into a painful and long lasting condition with two per cent of cases resulting in hospitalisation. One in 1,000 cases of shingles are estimated to result in death.
There’s more information about shingles on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/shingles/