Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

UK rollout of shingles jabs for the over-70s

People in their 70s across the UK will be offered a vaccine against shingles from October.

Experts have been recommending routine immunisation against the disease, which causes a painful rash, for some years.

It affects between 900 and 1,000 people aged between 70 and 79 in Northern Ireland every year.

The programme will initially be rolled out for people aged 70, with a catch up programme for those aged up to, and including 79.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety said: “In the first year approximately 22,000 people in Northern Ireland will be eligible for the vaccine — including 13,000 70-year-olds and 9,000 79-year-olds.”

The illness affects the nerves and skin. In severe cases it can cause complications such as hearing loss or brain swelling.

The virus can remain inactive in the nervous system for decades, with the body's immune system keeping it under control, but it can flare up again and emerge as shingles.

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