GPs have been told to offer the shingles vaccine Shingrix to patients who are eligible for a vaccination but are clinically contraindicated to receive the Zostavax vaccine because of their immunocompromised status from September 1.
A letter from Public Health England and NHS England and Improvement to a range of healthcare stakeholders including pharmacists at NHS Trusts outlines changes to the shingles immunisation programme including a new online ordering portal for Shingrix through the ImmForm website.
The letter sets out key guidance such as the requirement to administer Shingrix in two doses, the second two months after the first, with GPs advised to continue offering Zostavax to eligible patients who are not contraindicated.
It also said patients will be offered the vaccine when they turn 70 and “opportunistically or if requested for those over 70 years until the age of 80.”
Although patients aged 80 or over are no longer eligible for a vaccine because Zostavax becomes less effective in older people, anyone who turns 80 after their first dose of Shingrix will be given a second dose.
“The introduction of this inactivated shingles vaccine follows the recommendation made by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that Shingrix should be offered to all immunocompromised people for whom Zostavax is contraindicated but who are eligible for vaccination under the current programme, so that they can gain a similar level of protection to those who are not immunocompromised,” the letter said.
It said “sufficient supply of the Shingrix vaccine” is available to “implement the JCVI recommendation.”