Millions of people over the age of seventy may be eligible for the shingles vaccine. The news comes after the independent committee of the government that focuses on immunization recommended the vaccines use.
The committee states that there are benefits to be gained for the elderly by protecting them against the virus that leads to a painful skin ailment. It is possible that a large scale vaccination program might be enacted by the end of 2010 if a cost-effective way to distribute it is developed.
Most of the reports about the new shingles vaccine were spurred after the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) made a short statement. The responsibility of the committee is to advise the government on ways to prevent the spread of disease via vaccinations.
The short statement from the committee advised the government that the elderly should be vaccinated against shingles after reviewing a suitable amount of economic, medical, and epidemiological evidence. After its review, it found that adults between the ages of 70 to 79 would benefit from the vaccine.
Shingles is caused by the virus herpes zoster and results in a painful sin rash. It is usually the result of a reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox in children. Thus, anyone who has suffered from chickenpox in the past is at risk for shingles although it usually occurs in those over the age of 60.
Symptoms include a rash that develops into blisters that are often quite painful and oftentimes debilitating.