Sexagenarians have been left confused by the rollout of the shingles vaccine which sees younger patients eligible first.

The new shingles vaccine was rolled out in September with age of eligibility for those getting the jab dropped from 70, to those turning 65.

But patients have been left confused by the rules which mean you must have turned 65 after September 1, 2023 to be eligible. It means anyone who turned 65 on August 31 or earlier will not be eligible until they turn 70, potentially for another five years.

One Northern Echo reader csaid he only found out about the strange rule when he was sat in the nurses chair ready to be inoculated.

John Cumberland from Rushyford, County Durham, said: “I was under the impression I was eligible for the jab as they had reduced the age from 70 down to 65.

“So I rang the doctors and was given an appointment. I was called in for my inoculation only to be very apologetically informd by the nurse I wasn’t eligible.

“Why? Because my birthday was in June and you’re only eligible if you were 65 since September.

“I asked when do I qualify [and she said], ‘when you’re 70 I’m afraid’.”

Another confused patient Kathryn Harris, 67, added: “I rang up and they said they would have to see if I was eligible.

“I turned 65 two years ago but you have to turn 65 on September 1 this year or after. There’s a block of five years where those people have to wait til they’re 70.

“People younger than us are getting the vaccine.

“I am one of the Waspi women who got caught in six years pension loss. This is the same all over again.”

But the UK Health Security Agency said the decision is “based on the evidence”.

A spokesperson said: "Based on the evidence, the JCVI recognised there may be more clinical benefit from starting shingles vaccinations at a lower age, with modelling indicating that a greater number of cases of shingles would be prevented with vaccination at 60 years for immunocompetent individuals and 50 years for immunocompromised individuals.

“The committee advised that the programme should be implemented in stages, starting with those that are 50+ with a weakened immune system and those turning 65 and 70 then eventually moving down to those turning 60.

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“This is a similar pattern to the roll out of the shingles vaccine from 2013.

“This is why the vaccine offer is being expanded to all those turning 65 and 70 and all those 50+ with a weakened immune system. The programme will then run from 1 September 2023 to 31 August 2028, offering the vaccine to people as they turn 65 and 70 until the offer has been made to all those aged 65 to 70.

“If anyone is concerned about whether they have a weakened immune system and should get the shingles vaccine before they are eligible they should speak to their GP in the first instance.”