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RCN urges focus on shingles vaccine for older people in London

Office of London Clinical Commissioning Groups launches campaign to promote shingles vaccine. 
Shingles vaccination

The RCN is calling on London GPs to encourage patients over the age of 70 to get a free shingles vaccine in support of a campaign across the capital.

Thousands of older people across London are not having the vaccination despite statistics which show one in four could get the virus in their lifetime.

The London-wide Keep Well and Prevent Shingles campaign aims to raise awareness of the vaccination programme for people aged 70 to 73 after figures showed the capital has a 48% vaccination rate compared with 58% for the rest of England.

Free vaccination

The campaign will run from the end of June to October and was launched by the Office of London Clinical Commissioning Groups and is supported by NHS England London, Public Health England

The RCN is calling on London GPs to encourage patients over the age of 70 to get a free shingles vaccine in support of a campaign across the capital.


Londoners aged 70-73 are being encouraged to take up the anti-shingles vaccination. Picture: SPL

Thousands of older people across London are not having the vaccination despite statistics which show one in four could get the virus in their lifetime.

The London-wide Keep Well and Prevent Shingles campaign aims to raise awareness of the vaccination programme for people aged 70 to 73 after figures showed the capital has a 48% vaccination rate compared with 58% for the rest of England.

Free vaccination

The campaign will run from the end of June to October and was launched by the Office of London Clinical Commissioning Groups and is supported by NHS England London, Public Health England (London) and all London pharmacies, and will be running a patient signposting campaign throughout July.

Anyone aged between 70 and 73 is entitled to the free shingles vaccination at any time, and it can in most cases be given at the same time as the annual flu jab. Those aged 78 and 79 can also be treated up until their 80th birthday. 

RCN professional lead for public health nursing Helen Donovan said the shingles campaign in London was addressing particular inequalities in the uptake of the vaccine.

She added that it was essential for all practices to get involved and actively call in those who are eligible from their practice lists: ‘The impact of shingles disease is very much underestimated.

Risk of postherpetic neuralgia

‘It can be a particularly painful disease with complications of postherpetic neuralgia which can last for many months, and it can also result in hospitalisation.

‘The shingles vaccine is effective particularly at minimising these symptoms.

‘Now is the time to focus on all those patients in your practice population aged 70 to 73. Call them in for the vaccine, only one dose of the vaccine is required and it can be given at any time.’

In February last year Public Health England urged older patients to get the shingles vaccine after a fall in vaccination numbers.


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