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Public Health in West Northamptonshire urges 70- to 79-year-olds to take up the shingles vaccine after latest data shows a decline in vaccinations

12 May 2023

Image of someone getting their COVID-19 jab

Shingles are a painful infection that can cause a headache, high temperature and an itchy rash, often accompanied with a burning, throbbing pain. The rash usually appears on the chest and abdomen (tummy), however any part of the body can be affected, including the face and eyes.

As older adults are more at risk of developing shingles it is important that people above the age of 70 years old get their free shingles vaccine to help lower the chance of catching the infection and reduce the nasty symptoms that can be experienced from it.

“In Northamptonshire, the number of those who have been vaccinated against shingles has declined, with only around 44% of people eligible having received the vaccine. The symptoms experienced from this infection are severe and can be life changing, therefore the vaccine is important in helping to protect people from this infection and help relieve the symptoms if they do catch it. So, please take the time to protect yourself from this infection.

“If you have not yet taken up the free vaccine and you are eligible to do so, please do get booked in via your GP or local pharmacy. If you have not yet been contacted that you are eligible, but think you should be please do speak to your GP or pharmacy who will be able to advise you further.”
Dr Annapurna Sen, Consultant for Health Protection at Public Health West Northamptonshire Council

The shingles infection cannot be caught from another person, however someone who has had chickenpox is at higher risk of developing the infection. After having chickenpox, the virus stays in the body but remains inactive. As people age, their immunity weakens which means the body cannot protect itself against infections or disease the same as it did, and as a result the virus can be reactivated later in life, causing shingles.

Most people will recover fully from this virus, but for some they may experience complications for several months or years.

If you are over the age of 70 and have not yet had your vaccine, please contact your GP or your local pharmacy to discuss how you can arrange to get protected.

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