June 27, 2022


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The herpes zoster vaccine is now available to protect against shingles

Three leading Saudi medical societies meet and lecture on this disease

In conjunction with the availability of the shingles vaccination vaccine in health centers affiliated with the Saudi Ministry of Health and government sector hospitals, a medical scientific forum was recently held on “The Role of Immunization in Preventing Shingles Disease”, under the slogan “For a Healthy Life for Over Fifty People”, Under the sponsorship and participation of Glaxo Saudi Arabia Ltd. – one of the international multinational companies headquartered in Britain, GSK, specialized in bioscience research and the production of vaccines and consumer health medicines, and organized by the Saudi Society for Elderly Medicine, the Saudi Society for Family and Community Medicine, and the Saudi Society for Biology Medical microscopy and infectious diseases, in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Khobar.

It is noteworthy that the Saudi Ministry of Health has included the vaccination program against shingles and has become part of the adult vaccination program, as part of the ministry’s efforts to help protect against shingles disease within its medical centers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In this regard, Dr. Assem Al-Abdul Qadir, Consultant and Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine at the College of Medicine at Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University, Dammam, emphasized the Kingdom’s interest in the health of citizens by placing this vaccine in the adult vaccination schedule.

He added that the chances of contracting shingles increase with age, as some research evidence indicates that one out of every three people over the age of fifty may be exposed to the disease, and that weak immunity and some chronic diseases that may accompany old age may lead to difficulty in treating disease or its complications.

The importance of health awareness against infection from the disease belt of fire, after its rates spread around the world in a way that made specialists and those concerned with the matter hold forums and sessions with the aim of educating members of societies, especially the elderly who are over fifty years old, about the best ways to prevent and protect themselves from the disease and its complications.

Undoubtedly, the forum constituted an opportunity to present the current situation of shingles and ways to prevent it, as it included a large number of health care providers and prominent speakers from inside and outside the Kingdom, in addition to an elite group of doctors specializing in internal diseases, infectious diseases, and geriatrics. Infection prevention and control methods, medical biochemistry, microbiology, and zoonoses.

The forum included several sessions, lectures and rich dialogues that shed light on a number of important themes. The first session of the conference, which was held in Jeddah, began with a lecture by Dr. Ashraf Amir, Consultant Family Medicine at the International Medical Center, in which he addressed the “best ways to lead a healthy life for those over the age of fifty”, then another lecture. Entitled “Prevention of Shingles: A New Priority” by Dr. Nizar Bahabri, Consultant Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and Director of the Western Region of the Saudi Society for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology.

On the other hand, Dr. Huda Bukhari, an infectious disease consultant and head of infection control at King Fahd Hospital, to Imam Abdul Rahman bin Faisal University of Dammam, expressed her happiness at the availability of the shingles vaccine in the primary centers of the Ministry of Health due to the complex complications of the disease. One of these complications is chronic nerve pain, which may affect 30% of people with shingles, and which may last for months or years. Another serious complication is infection of the eye with the virus, which may occur in an average of 25% of infected people and may lead to vision loss.

From the Riyadh conference, Dr. Yunus Lakobi, Global Medical Director and Specialist in Health Technology Assessment and Marketing, gave a lecture on “Production of Vaccines with Integrated Genes to Prevent Shingles,” in addition to a lecture by Professor Lars Rombaud, Professor of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology and the Center for Zoonoses at Uppsala University, Sweden. The “Effectiveness and Safety of Shingles Vaccine: Highlights from Important Studies”, and a lecture entitled “Prevention of Shingles” by Dr. Howra Al-Bayat, Consultant Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, the Saudi Board of Internal Medicine Program, and the Saudi Fellowship for the Infectious Diseases Program at King Saud Medical City in Riyadh.

Among the important recommendations launched by the conference is the need for the elderly and their caregivers to pay attention to this disease, and to consult their doctors about the disease and its developments to take the necessary precautions, in addition to implementing medical awareness programs regarding the safety of patients with shingles, in addition to the importance of developing vaccine and quality programs that integrate with the objectives of ensuring the safety of patient care. At all levels, expanding safety strategies and activities throughout health care services, and qualifying health leaders by focusing on training, medical education and scientific research related to the safety requirements of patients with fire belt.

It should be noted that the shingles virus belongs to the family of herpes viruses, which contains more than 100 known types of herpes viruses, and 8 types of these viruses infect humans. Cutaneous shingles virus infection occurs as a result of reactivation of the latent varicella-zoster virus in the body, the virus that causes chickenpox infection that usually affects children, while shingles virus infection that causes shingles often occurs as a result of the inability of the immune system to contain or stop the replication of the shingles virus Latent fiery.