The Valencia regional health ministry will begin to administer the Herpes Zoster vaccine to all people between 65 and 80 during 2023 (born in 1958 and 1943) without risk factors, as announced the Minister of Health, Miguel Mínguez. Two new cohorts are expected to be incorporated each year until the offer is complete for all people aged 65 and over.

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus stays in your body for the rest of your life. Years later, the virus may reactivate as shingles.

Following what was approved by the Public Health Commission of the Interterritorial Council, the vaccine has been recommended for certain risk groups (Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT); solid organ transplantation (SOT); treatment with anti- JAK; HIV; Blood malignancies; Solid tumours being treated with chemotherapy and people with a history of recurrent herpes zoster).

Vaccination of people included in risk groups will preferably be carried out in the preventive medicine services of hospital centres, while vaccination without risk pathology will preferably be carried out in health centres. The vaccination regimen consists of 2 doses of 0.5 ml each: an initial dose followed by a 2nd dose 2 months later.

The Consellería de Sanidad Universal y Salud Pública has processed a tender for the purchase of a vaccine (adjuvanted recombinant subunits) of 125,000 annual doses for the years 2023, 2024 and 2025 for a maximum amount of 66,137,500 euro.

Last August, the Valencian Community was one of the first regions to start administering this vaccine to the adult population with risk conditions, after the Public Health Commission of the Ministry of Health agreed in September 2021 on the regional distribution and its inclusion. in vaccination recommendations. And later, vaccination is extended to other groups, such as older people with no other risk factors.

To date, a total of 13,352 doses have already been administered to a total of 9,395 patients from the above-mentioned risk groups.

By provinces, 4,804 doses have been administered to 3,356 patients in Alicante; 1,006 doses to 699 patients in Castellón and 7,542 doses to 5,340 patients in Valencia.

Incidence of Herpes Zoster

Based on the cases reported through the Epidemiological Surveillance Analysis (AVE) throughout the Valencian Community, the average incidence of HZ in the period 2018-2022 is estimated at 307.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The disease is more frequent in women than in men and increases with age, reaching 699 cases per hundred thousand people in the age group over 74 years.

It is estimated that about 2% of cases require hospital care and that the incidence of PHN exceeds 12% after 65 years of age.

Herpes zoster (HZ) is a disease caused by the varicella-zoster virus that causes local lesions due to reactivation of the latent virus in the spinal ganglia. This reactivation occurs as a consequence of a reduction in immunity related to aging or other health problems.

Despite the fact that it has a low mortality, its complications, especially postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), produce a significant decrease in the quality of life of the people who suffer from it and cause a significant health burden for the health system and society, both direct and indirect costs.