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Shingles vaccination uptake: nurses have vital role

Nurses and GPs play a pivotal role in uptake of the shingles vaccine in a UK programme targeting people over 70

Nurses and GPs play a pivotal role in uptake of the shingles vaccine in a UK programme targeting people over 70

Picture shows a 3D illustration of herpes viruses and antibodies. Nurses and GPs play a pivotal role in shingles vaccine uptake, according to researchers investigating why people have the vaccination.
A 3D illustration of herpes viruses and antibodies Picture: Alamy

Nurses and GPs play a pivotal role in shingles vaccine uptake, according to researchers investigating why people have the vaccination.

Shingles, or herpes zoster, is characterised by a vesicular skin rash, often accompanied by acute pain and itching. The UK introduced a national vaccination programme targeting people aged 70 or 79 in 2013-2014. Coverage reached up to 64% in some areas that year, but has declined since.

Reasons for acceptance of the vaccine were investigated through a self-administered survey sent by general practices to a sample of vaccinated and unvaccinated people identified through the Clinical Practice Research Datalink.

Most responders had good knowledge of shingles

There was a 20% (512) response rate from people registered at 69 practices. Of these, 56% lived in care homes and 88% had completed secondary or higher education. Most responders, irrespective of whether they had had the vaccination, had good knowledge of shingles.

Those who had been vaccinated were significantly more likely to report that they had been told about shingles and offered the vaccine by their GP or nurse, and were more likely to know others who had had the shingles vaccine. Those who were not vaccinated reported significantly more practical barriers to vaccination.


Reference

Bricout H, Torcel-Pagnon L, Lecomte C et al (2019). Determinants of shingles vaccine acceptance in the United Kingdom. PloS one. 14, 8, e0220230. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0220230


Vari Drennan is professor of healthcare and policy research at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London

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