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Shingles vaccine extended to cover vulnerable adults over the age of 50

Someone has rolled up their sleeve in preparation for a vaccination. In the foreground, a needle is being prepared.

People who are severely immuno-compromised and are over the age of 50 will be offered the shingles vaccine this autumn.

The Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that the the vaccines - Shingrix - be rolled out to a wider group of people after it was shown to be highly effective for people with weakened immune systems.

People with compromised immune systems, like people diagnosed with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinaemia (WM) are at greater risk of severe side effects if they contract shingles. Although people with WM are not recommended the normal shingles vaccine, Shingrix is a non-live vaccine that is suitable for use.

It's important for people with WM to be up to date with all their vaccinations - including that for shingles - as WM affects the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections and meaning people are at a greater risk of severe illness and side effects.

Previously, the vaccine was only available to people aged 70-79. Therefore, this new announcement is a very welcome one.

The programme will start in September, and eligible people are urged to get immunised as soon as possible to help protect against shingles. For more information, contact your GP.


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