Public Health England (PHE) has urged GPs to encourage eligible patients to get the shingles vaccine after a study which appeared in  the Lancet Journal of Public Health, showed that the vaccine reduced cases by a third between 2013 and 2016.

The study looked at patients who were registered at a selection of GP surgeries between 2005 and 2016.

It found that the incidence of shingles reduced by 35% in the three years following the introduction of the vaccine in 2013 for those aged 70, with the incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia falling by half. This corresponded to 17,000 fewer cases of shingles and 3300 fewer cases of postherpetic neuralgia.

PHE reported in their 2016/2017 evaluation of the vaccination programme that coverage in the routine cohort, who receive the vaccine at 70 years of age, had fallen by 13.5% since 2013.

PHE experts attributed the reduced uptake to more patients receiving their flu jab at a pharmacy, meaning that GPs had fewer opportunities to identify eligible patients and offer them the shingles vaccine.

BMA GP Committee prescribing lead Dr Andrew Green said: ‘I would agree that the evidence is encouraging for shingles vaccination, and we should try to get as many patients vaccinated as possible.

Lancet Public Health 2017; available online December 21st 

You can also find more information about Shingles and the Shingles vaccination on NHS Choices at:

The original articles appears in Pulse Today magazine.