A new vaccination service to protect adults against shingles has been launched by Boots Ireland today; one of the first pharmacies in Ireland to provide this service.
Broadcaster Mark Cagney was on hand to officially launch the service and encourage over 50s to protect against the disease. New research revealed almost one in five people aged over 50 in Ireland (19%) have experienced shingles, yet 85% of those surveyed were unaware that shingles can be prevented by vaccination, including re-occurrence of the disease.
The findings also showed low levels of awareness and understanding of shingles as almost half (47%) were unaware that people are only susceptible to shingles if they have had chicken pox. 30% did not know about the serious health complications shingles can cause including long term nerve pain or damage, bacterial infection, or damage to the eye. Of those who had experienced shingles, just 10% were aware that re-occurrence of the disease can also be prevented by vaccination.
Mark Cagney, Broadcaster said, “I know first-hand how important it is to look after your health, especially as we age and become more susceptible to certain health conditions. Shingles can have a terrible impact on your health if it leads to complications. A close family member had a horrendous time with shingles, I’ll never forget what they went through and how little could be done for them at the time. That was 30 years ago so thankfully treatments have improved and vaccination is now available to protect against it.”
Shingles is caused by herpes-zoster virus, the same virus as chickenpox, and anyone who has ever had chicken pox can get shingles. The virus remains in the body and can become active again in later life where it develops into shingles. Over 90% of the Irish population has had chicken pox, and approximately a quarter of those will develop shingles at some stage in their life. The risk of shingles increases with age as two out of three cases of shingles develop in people aged over 503.
Susan O’Dwyer, Pharmacist, Boots Ireland said, “Our research proves that people in Ireland have a high level of trust in pharmacists and visit a pharmacy regularly for healthcare advice. The Boots Ireland Shingles Vaccination Service adds another dimension to our expanding vaccination portfolio.
“Preventative healthcare is an important part of our work, and our pharmacists are well placed in the community to offer healthcare advice and provide vaccination services such as this. We are encouraging those over 50 to speak to their local Boots pharmacist today about protecting against shingles.”
Commenting on the launch of the service, John Lindsay, Chairperson, Chronic Pain Ireland said, “At Chronic Pain Ireland, we are only too aware of the potentially painful after-effects of shingles. Shingles can cause nerve pain called post herpetic neuralgia, which many of our members are affected by, and is an extremely difficult condition to treat.”
The Shingles Vaccination Service adds to Boots Ireland’s expanded vaccination portfolio that includes the winter flu vaccination, and the newly announced pharmacy-administered vaccination for pneumococcal disease. The vaccination portfolio is an easily-accessible, convenient and cost-effective service offering customers expert advice on preventative healthcare. Appointments for the shingles vaccination can be booked in Boots Ireland pharmacies or online at Boots.ie/appointments.