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Shingles vaccination proposal for elderly PDF Print Email

The government’s independent committee on immunisation suggests there may be benefits in vaccinating the elderly against the virus to prevent the painful skin condition.  If it is seen to be cost-effective a vaccination programme could be in place by late 2010.
The news coverage has been based on a short statement released by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent advisory committee of experts that gives advice to the government on the role immunisation can play in preventing communicable diseases.


Advice given to government is based on a systematic review of the medical evidence on a subject.
The recent JCVI statement concerns the potential to vaccinate the elderly against herpes zoster (also known as shingles) in a far-reaching programme. Their guidance is based on a review of medical, epidemiological and economic evidence, including the available safety and efficacy data on herpes zoster vaccination.

The JVCI are expected to release a full statement soon. However, it does state that a universal herpes zoster vaccination programme should be introduced for adults aged 70 to 79, “provided that a licensed vaccine is available at a cost-effective price”.