If you are aged 70 or 78 it’s time for your shingles vaccine

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Monday, October 3rd, 2016
The Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding all people aged 70 and 78 years old that they are eligible to receive the shingles vaccine.
Dr Declan Bradley

Dr Declan Bradley

The vaccine will help protect them against this common and painful disease and its complications. The shingles vaccine will be offered routinely to people who were aged 70 years on 1 September 2016 (born between 2 September 1945 and 1 September 1946 inclusive); and as part of a catch-up programme, also to those aged 78 on 1 September (born between 2 September 1937 and 1 September 1938 inclusive). Dr Declan Bradley, Consultant in Health Protection at the PHA, said, “This is the third year the shingles vaccine has been offered and just over half of eligible 70 and 78 year-olds got the vaccine last year (51%). Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. “After you recover from chickenpox, some of the virus remains inactive in your body and nervous system. It can then reactivate in later life when your immune system is weakened. About a quarter of adults will get shingles at some point in their lives. “For many people, shingles can be a mild infection with good recovery. But it can be very painful and is more likely to affect people as they get older. The older people are, the worse it can be, with some people left with pain that can last for years after the rash has healed. “It is estimated that the vaccination programme will prevent many of the hundreds of cases seen every year in Northern Ireland in people over 70 and reduce the severity of the symptoms for those who do develop the condition.”
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September 2016The vaccine is given as a single injection in the upper arm but, unlike the flu vaccine, you only need to have it once. Dr Bradley added, “Side effects are usually quite mild and don’t last very long. The most common side effects include headache and/or pain and swelling at the site of the injection. “If you are invited for the vaccine by your GP because you are in the an eligible age group, I would encourage you to get vaccinated to help avoid getting shingles and its painful after-effects.” People under 70 years of age will get the vaccine in the year following their seventieth birthday. It is estimated that in Northern Ireland around 27,000 people will be eligible for the vaccine this year. In addition, people who were eligible in past years but who did not get the vaccine can still get it if they are aged 71, 72, 73 or 79 years on 1 September 2016. For further information see: www.pha.site/shingles or #StaywellNI
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