GP shingles jab role is unclear

Government officials have yet to discuss with the GPC how four million older people will be vaccinated against shingles, the DoH has confirmed.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has recommended that every one of the four million people in England aged 70-79 should be offered the herpes zoster vaccination.

Under the NHS Constitution, the government now has a legal duty to investigate whether a cost-effective vaccination programme can be developed.

But a DoH spokeswoman said that no decision had yet been made about who would be providing vaccines or how the work would be remunerated.

Discussions would only begin once an agreement has been made on procurement of the vaccine, she said. The DoH said it will undertake a 'rigorous' procurement programme.

A BMA spokeswoman confirmed that discussions on whether GPs would be expected to provide the vaccinations had yet to start.

Each year around 50,000 people over the age of 70 dev- elop shingles.

The JCVI said that its decision to limit its recommendation to people aged 70-79 was influenced by data on disease burden and duration of protection conferred by vaccination.

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