Public Health England has issued a reminder that patients aged 79 years who have not previously received the shingles vaccine to ensure they have it before their next birthday.
Since 1 September 2013, the shingles vaccine has been offered routinely to people aged 70 with an ongoing catch-up programme to ensure everyone is offered the vaccine before they turn 80.
For the 2015-16 programme, people aged 78 years on 1 September 2015 have also been offered the vaccine as part of this catch-up programme.
In addition, those eligible for the vaccine in the previous two years of the programme but who missed out remain eligible until their 80th birthday, noted PHE.
The agency warned that any individual who reached their 80th birthday was no longer eligible for the vaccine due to the reducing effectiveness of the vaccine as age increases.
It called for people to check if their parents or grandparents were eligible for the vaccine, as it could be their last chance.
Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, who is leading the shingles vaccine programme at PHE, said: “The shingles vaccine is the best way to protect against this debilitating illness and significantly reduces the incidence of post herpetic neuralgia.
“We strongly recommend getting vaccinated to prevent this painful condition,” said Dr Amirthalingam.
“We are very pleased to say, that since the introduction of the shingles vaccine, there has been a considerable reduction in the number of cases attending GP practices, amongst those groups eligible for vaccination,” she added.