The Shingles Support Society (email [email protected] and helpline 0845 123 2305) has been getting a lot of ‘enquiries’ (well, they are often rants!) from people between 65+ and 70 who do not qualify for the vaccine under the present timetable. But, if you are immunosuppressed in some way, and over 50, you should consult your GP about being vaccinated.
We do not know why the NHS has chosen this particular system. As far as we know, there was no pubic consultation. And we have asked for a patient representative to be included in all future vaccine meetings.
Contact your MP
The only way to change it is to hassle the Minister for Health: Stephen Barclay. You could write/email to your MP to ask the minister to justify this timetable. Only the government can get the NHS to change its mind.
My best guess
To try to explain it… They did this funny ‘catch up’ timetable when they first introduced the shingles vaccine in 2013. They did a similar ‘catch up’ when they introduced the cervical cancer vaccine for teenage girls.
Possible reasons… We know that the is only one company that is allowed to make this vaccine. It is under patent. Maybe the supplies are limited. The overloading GPs could be a concern and therefore “one year at a time”, is possibly thought to be wise – particularly as the new Shingrix vaccine that is being given to the 65-year old cohort is a double dose months apart. this necessitates more admin work. We know that the Shingrix is about 4 times more expensive than the Zostavax, so spreading the cost out might be a consideration?