Why I wonít be having the shingles vaccine

Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA

I have received an unsigned letter from our GP inviting me to ring and make an appointment to have a shingles vaccination.

The vaccine is apparently being offered to selected groups of individuals over the age of 70 and is, no doubt, a result of determined efforts by the drug industry to find ways to make more money out of old people (an expanding market) as well as children (a market which is definitely not expanding quite so rapidly).

The letter from my GP contains no reference to side effects but tells me that if I want more information I should consult the website www.shinglesaware.co.uk

What the GPs fail to point out is that www.shinglesaware.co.uk was set up by Sanofi Pasteur MSD which is (golly I can hardly believe this) a manufacturer of vaccines. Actually, to be more specific, it is the manufacturer of this very vaccine. So my GPs are using a vaccine manufacturerís website as the source of information about a vaccine. Great. That warms the cockles and muscles of my tired old heart.

Naturally, neither the manufacturer nor the GP practice has bothered to point out that the cost to the NHS of each vaccine jab is at least £55 (no doubt shared between the company making the stuff and the doctors who give it).

And the side effects that the GP doesnít bother to mention?

Well, the common ones include headache, pain, swelling at the area of the vaccination, itching, bruising, joint pain, muscle pain, fever and rash.

Slightly less common side effects include nausea and swollen glands.

Less common side effects include developing chickenpox, developing shingles, sight problems and, of course, having an anaphylactic shock reaction causing difficulty in breathing or swallowing and with death being a possible consequence. Thatís the sort of death that ends up with a coffin and a spot in the local cemetery.

And what exactly does this doubtless profitable-for-all-concerned-vaccine contain?

Well, my GP didnít bother to tell me that either but I can reveal that he (or she) wants to inject me with a delightful mixture of the live varicella-zoster virus (the live virus you will note) to which has been added sucrose, gelatin, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, disodium phosphate, sodium hydroxide, urea and some other doubtless really good stuff.

Iíve decided to pass on the invitation, thank you very much.

Iíll take my chances with shingles.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2016

Note: There is more information about vaccines and vaccination in other free articles on this website. Readers who want yet more independent information about vaccines in general will find my book on the subject of interest. The title is Anyone who tells you vaccines are safe and effective is lying. Hereís the proof. The book is available as an ebook on Amazon.