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GPs’ disbelief at £250m shingles jab to save 200 lives – Telegraph. co. uk

A nurse preparing to give a patient an injection
A nurse preparing to give a individual an injection Photo: PA


The shingles vaccine will have a negligible impact on circulation of the virus, will avoid few deaths and will benefit lower than 1 per cent of its targeted age bracket.

1 GP said he was “astonished” at the NHS’s justification of the rollout of the treatment for the over-70s.

The Division of Health says that the shot is cost-effective on the basis of its possibility of preventing shingles, despite reducing the odds of developing the disease in pensioners from only 0. nine per cent to 0. 5 %.

A spokesman admitted that “the general effect on transmission is negligible” and that the Zovastax vaccine is “not aimed to prevent deaths”. Just one in 1, 000 sufferers dies associated with shingles.

The department refused to confirm the cost of the vaccine, but The Daily Telegraph understands that it is costing the NHS as much as £55 per shot — nearly six times the price of the particular £7. 50 flu jab.

Shingles, a painful skin rash, develops from the chickenpox virus, which virtually all adults have dormant in their body after contracting the virus at a early age.

Because of this, the vaccination will not actually reduce circulation of the virus as other vaccines, such as polio, do.

The particular rash usually heals within four weeks, although a quarter of sufferers create pain along the affected nerve.

More than 30, 000 people in their seventies develop shingles each year in England and Wales, only zero. 9 per cent of that age group, based on a report by the Joint Committee upon Vaccination and Immunisation. Public Wellness England found that the programme would cut shingles by more than a 3rd, but this would effectively benefiting just 0. 4 per cent of seventy to 79-year-olds.

The particular programme will be rolled out to those people aged 70 and 79 this particular autumn at a cost of £50 million, as well as the rest of the age group in coming many years at a similar cost.

Once the 70-79 age group has been vaccinated, the programme will cost an estimated £30 million a year.

Dr Costs Beeby, a GP and chairman of the British Medical Association’s prescribing committee, said: “If you are one of the ones in the 0. 4 % not going to get shingles because of the shot, you will be prevented from a very painful and debilitating illness. But you will never know if you were one of the 99 per cent who would never get it anyhow. When the NHS is being asked to find £20 billion savings, the question is particularly appropriate. ”

Klaus Green, a Surrey GP, said: “Medical colleagues and I were astonished to find that this decision had not been arrived at by directly comparing the cost of the vaccination programme with the savings to be made on referrals, admissions and medications used to treat shingles. ”

A health department speaker said: “This programme is precautionary; it hopes to reduce the pressure on GPs, hospitals and drug use, as well as pain suffered by patients by circumventing the disease. ”

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