Latest figures show there has been a high uptake of the new shingles vaccine during the first year since it was launched, with public health officials highlighting the contribution of practice nurses.
The new herpes zoster vaccination programme, which was launched by Public Health England in September 2013, was offered to adults who were aged 70 and 79 years old from 1 September of that year.
“We congratulate our colleagues in primary care, particularly those practice nurses who have helped to deliver this programme”
Uptake for the first year of the programme shows that almost 62% of 70 year olds and almost 60% of 79 year olds received the shingles vaccine Zostavax.
Most had it in the first few months of the programme, during the seasonal flu vaccination campaign.
The aim of the vaccination programme is to reduce the risk and severity of shingles in those most likely to be affected by the illness.
Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE’s head of immunisation said: “We are very pleased by the number of people who have been vaccinated… and we hope that this figure continues to rise over the coming years as the vaccine becomes more established.
“We congratulate our colleagues in primary care, particularly those practice nurses who have helped to deliver this programme alongside their busy clinics for seasonal flu,” she said.
“This season, we hope to vaccinate many more older people, and to maintain and improve uptake in order to prevent this debilitating condition amongst older people in England,” she added.
The Zostavax supply was subject to temporary limitations due to vaccine availability between September and December last year, but these problems have been fully resolved and the supply problem has not impacted on the overall programme, according to PHE.
Eligible patients who were aged 70, 78 and 79 years old on 1 September 2014 onwards have until 31 August 2015 to be vaccinated as part of this year’s programme.