Shingles Vaccine?

I've just been reading about the shingles vaccine which is recommended for those over 50, yet the NHS is only rolling out a programme for those aged 70 and 79. Surely this is discriminating against those others who can benefit from it (bearing in mind that there appears to be quite a few RA patients who get shingles due to being immunosuppressed). I would have thought that the cost of providing the vaccine to those patients before they begin immunosuppressant drugs would offset the cost of treating those who end up developing shingles!

23 Replies

  • Have you seen the previous discussion on shingles on this page? Or is that what prompted it? I am thinking of asking for the vaccine as I have just had shingles. And don't want it again!!

  • No I haven't seen the discussion, just came across the information re shingles vaccine and wondered why all those about to start immunosuppressant drugs aren't offered it. I am considering asking about it when I go to get the flu and pneumonia jabs. I am in the Middle East so hopefully my health insurance would cover it even though I am not yet 50 (though only for another few months!). I know shingles is horrible, my mum had it twice, and I don't fancy having it on top of all the other problems. Good luck with getting the vaccine, you will probably have a fight on your hands as I see that although it was supposed to be distributed to GP surgeries from 1st October, it was stopped on 6th due to "distribution difficulties". It's now due some time in November? I really hope that you can make a good case for having it with your GP. Clemmie.

  • My GP looked into this and said there was no valid reason why I shouldn't get the vaccine. So even tho I'm under 70 she's going to get it for me. I think the age limit must be to do with funding, it's a question of who can lobby hardest. We might resent the nhs, but should also think of the huge profits the drug companies make on our backs!

  • I am on 15mg MTX and was told the shingles vac. was "live" and I would be better not to have it.

  • You can also have a blood test to determine if you need the injection. You may have natural immunity to the herpes zoster virus. I do. Your GP can do the blood test.

    But it is a live vaccine so you would have to come off all auto immune suppresive drugs and have a wash out before you could have the vaccine.

  • Well I haven't yet started MTX so that's why I'm considering asking for the shingles vaccine before I start along with the flu and pneumonia jabs. Clemmie

  • In that case I would get your GP to do the shingles blood test and then, depending on the outcome, get all two or three done. You may have to pay for the shingles vaccine but it's not an expensive one.

  • Pb52 I'm in the Middle East at the moment so am hoping that my health insurance will cover the cost of all three, fingers crossed! Clemmie

  • it's all a matter of supply. There is not enough vaccine available yet to immunise everyone, so two age groups are being targeted initially.

  • I would say to anyone,if you can, have the vaccine,I'm on the 4th day of shingles,& can honestly say its bloody awful! The pain is unremitting,tiredness is awful, the anti viral meds made me so ill I stopped taking them, so by fair means or foul, have the vaccine!!!! Know I'm an old misery at the moment, but that is just the shingles talking! :(

  • FHi gilox. I truly feel for you althoughive not had shingles my husband has last October he thought he had a bad migrane only to find out next day his face on the right side and in his head covered in blisters. The pain indiscribeable and unbearable. Was put on a cocktail of drugs. And drugged being the word. This went on for months a year on the nerve affected is still giving him pain in the head

  • Hi again gilox forgot to add my husband also has mylofibrosis with Avery low immune system. So naturally I'm really scared of getting it. I was told because I'm 71i could not have it. And would have to wait till I'm 79. How unfair is this. Would like anyone's comments please

  • Hi Kisses, don't understand why you have to wait til 71,the vaccine should be available to anyone over the age of 70, the cut off age is 79!! So go back to your gp & insist you have it.If you go onto patient & tap in shingles you should be able to find a bit that says "Immunisation for older people " This tells you that the age range is 70 to 79,if the doc still insists you are too young, print the page off & show him,I could give a better idea of what to do with it in that case, but perhaps not on here!!! Good luck & do let me know how you get on. Gillian

  • Gilox, although the age range is 70 to 79, at the moment the NHS is only immunising those who are 70 and 79. That's just the way they are doing it. Clemmie

  • That's what I was told so am looking into paying for it having gone through it with my husband. I really don't want to get it

  • So unfair Clemmie,it should be available to all with immune problems,I'm really sorry you are not able to get it. Gillian

  • Gillian, I expect that I will be able to be it because I am abroad so shouldn't have any problems. Even if my health insurance won't pay for it i will probably still get it done. It's those people who are at the mercy of the whims of the NHS who I feel sorry for. Clemmie

  • Biloxi, I really hope that you feel better soon. Clemmie

  • When I mentioned it at my surgery I was told this year it is for people aged 70 & 79 and next year it may be rolled out to others. Having read my leaflet for Enbrel I may not be allowed to have it as it mentions chicken pox and coming off the injections, plus I have had shingles in the past. My hubby had his injection at the weekend and I forgot to bring the leaflet home with me, am sure I read that if you have had shingles in the past you may not need the jab, but don't quote me in case I misread.

  • But you can get shingles more than once, my mum has had it twice and I know of numerous others who have had it several times, so I would err on the side of caution personally. Clemmie

  • I stopped the MTX,& spoke to the Rheumy asking if it was safe to start again,the answer was NO, wait until all the pustiles have healed!! As I've been told that it can take 6 weeks or more I'm really worried that the mtx will take a while to work again! I am still in so much pain & its only day 6,going to see GP today, not really holding my breath for much help, BUT the RA is not too bad at the moment!

  • Well been to see the GP for all of 90 seconds! got prescription for amitriplyne, (not sure I spelt that right) Its an anti depressant which I have to take at night,Hoping at least to get some sleep & then maybe will cope better with the pain?I'm usually ok with the pain from the RA, but this is in another league,can't believe how much swearing & cursing I've done.Does anyone feel they are short-changed by their GP on age grounds,or am I being paranoid????

  • At least you should be able to get some sleep now which I think makes the world of difference when you suffer from chronic pain. I really hope that you get some relief. And I think many people are short changed by their GP's, and not purely on age grounds. When I go to see my GP now I tell him exactly what I expect and usually I am treated ok but that's only because I used to be a nurse and learnt that was the only way to get anywhere. Clemmie

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