Eligible individuals should receive a single dose of the varicella zoster vaccine Zostavax by subcutaneous injection. This can be given at the same time as the seasonal influenza vaccine.
Contraindicated in certain patient groups
Zostavax should not be given to patients:
- with a primary or acquired immunodeficiency state
- receiving immunosuppressive therapy (including high-dose corticosteroids but not topical/inhaled corticosteroids or low-dose systemic corticosteroids or in patients receiving corticosteroids as replacement therapy)
- with active untreated TB
- who have had an anaphylactic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, or to neomycin or gelatin.
A catch up-immunisation programme has been launched for people aged 79 years.
Potential to prevent 40% of cases
It is estimated that 50,000 cases of shingles occur in people over 70 years annually in England and Wales, with approximately 1 in 1000 cases resulting in death. The vaccination programme is expected to prevent nearly 40% of cases in those over 70 years.