Royal College of Nursing calls on GPs to support Shingles campaign

The Royal College of Nursing is calling on London GPs to encourage patients over the age of 70 to get vaccinated to survive shingles.

The call comes as the Keep Well and Prevent Shingles campaign is launched to raise awareness of the shingles prevention programme as thousands across London are not having the vaccination despite one in four set to get the virus in their lifetime.

The London-wide Keep Well and Prevent Shingles campaign aims to raise awareness of the vaccination programme for people aged 70 to 73 after figures showed the capital has just a 48 per cent vaccination rate versus the rest of England on 58 per cent.

The campaign, launched by The Office of London Clinical Commissioning Groups, backed by national health bodies and supported by social media, also aims to increase take up of the free one-time dose vaccine, at GPs, to protect against shingles and the long-term pain it can cause.

Anyone aged between 70 and 73 is entitled to the free shingles vaccination at any time, and can in most cases be given at the same time as the annual flu jab. Those aged 78 and 79 can also be treated, right up until their 80th birthday.  

Helen Donovan, Professional Lead for Public Health Nursing at the RCN, said: “The impact of shingles disease is very much underestimated. It can be a particularly painful disease with complications of post hepatic neuralgia which can last for many months and it can also result in hospitalisation. 

“The shingles vaccine is effective particularly at minimising these symptoms. 

“Now is the time to focus on all those patients in your practice population aged 70 to 73. Call them in for the vaccine, only one dose of the vaccine is required and it can be given any time.”

“This shingles campaign in London is addressing particular inequalities in the uptake of the vaccine. It is essential for all practices to get involved and actively call in those who are eligible from their practice lists.”