Responding to the news of falls in uptake of the shingles vaccination, the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK) has urged a change to its eligibility guidelines.
Public Health England has reported a decline in the uptake of the shingles vaccination in the routine (70-year-old) and catch up (78-years-old) cohorts – from 61.8% in 2013/14 to 54.9% in 2015/16 and from 57.8% in 2014/15 to 55.5% in 2015/16, respectively.
In 2013, ILC-UK published the report Immune Response, calling for a lifecourse approach to immunisation and making 30 plus recommendations for policy action.
ILC-UK followed this in 2015 by launching a European Adult Immunisation Hub, which seeks to provide information and news about adult immunisation across Europe.
David Sinclair, Director, ILC-UK and Editor of the European Adult Immunisation Hub, said: “Vaccination is not just for kids. In an ageing society we need a much greater focus on improving awareness and uptake of vaccination among adults.
“Anything we can do to reduce likelihood of pain is of huge importance in old age, with 6 in 10 people in their mid-70s suffering from pain.
“Shingles can be a significant cause of pain in old age and vaccination is an effective way of reducing the likelihood that we will suffer from it. We must ensure that older people eligible for the shingles vaccination take up their right to receive it.
“Some parts of the country have very low coverage of the shingles vaccine among eligible people. It is important that Public Health England and the Department of Health work to ensure that we don’t see emerging a postcode lottery in access to the vaccine.
“The complexity of the age of eligibility guidelines for shingles will no doubt be hampering the ability to communicate uptake to relevant individuals. Perhaps now is the time to extend eligibility to everyone between 70 and 80, after all, all of these people are at risk and would benefit from vaccination.”
Details of who is eligible for a shingles vaccine are available here: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/who-can-have-the-shingles-vaccine.aspx
See the European Adult Immunisation Website for more information about the latest figures for shingles vaccination uptake