UK First Major European Country to Run Zostavax Nationwide Shingles Vaccination Programme

     UK First Major European Country to Run Zostavax Nationwide Shingles
                            Vaccination Programme

  PR Newswire

  LYON, France, January 22, 2013

LYON, France, January 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

      Vaccine to be given to UK seniors to help protect against shingles

The UK has decided to launch the first-ever national shingles immunisation
campaign in Europe using the innovative Zostavax vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur
MSD, the joint venture in Europe between MSD and Sanofi Pasteur.

Eligible senior members of the public will be able to receive the Zostavax
vaccine during regular health visits or at the same time as their seasonal flu
jab. The decision from the UK's Department of Health follows a comprehensive
assessment of the health and economic benefits of shingles vaccination.

Zostavax is the first and only vaccine available for the prevention of
shingles and the long lasting nerve pain that may follow the disease, known as
post herpetic neuralgia. The vaccine is licensed in Europe for immunisation of
adults over 50 years * and can be given as a single injection.

Shingles is a painful and debilitating disease that affects around one in four
^[ ^1 ^] ^, ^[ ^2 ^] people during their life time. Anyone who has had
chickenpox (95 % of the European population ^[ ^3 ^] ) is potentially at risk
as it is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox (varicella) virus that
most people get during childhood.

Shingles is typically characterised by an extremely painful rash and blisters
on the skin and it can lead to serious complications such as post-herpetic
neuralgia, a painful and long-lasting condition caused by damage to the nerves
by the virus. The risk and severity of shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia
increase with age and 2/3 of shingles cases occur in people over 50 years ^[
^4 ^] .

" Until the introduction of Zostavax, there was nothing we could do to protect
ourselves against this painful and debilitating disease, " said Jean-Paul
Kress, President of Sanofi Pasteur MSD. " We're very pleased that the UK
Department of Health has recognized the importance of vaccinating against
shingles and we look forward to more partnerships in Europe for immunisation
with this truly innovative product ."

Zostavax has been used in the United States since 2006 and in Canada since
2009 and more than 11 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed since
its launch.

* immunocompetent adults (SmPC)

References:

1.Bowsher D. The lifetime occurrence of Herpes zoster and prevalence of
    postherpetic neuralgia: A retrospective survey in an elderly population.
    Eur J Pain 1999; 3 : 335-42 
2.Miller E, Marshall R, Vurdien J. Epidemiology, outcome and control of
    varicella zoster infection. Rev Med Microbiol 1993: 4: 222-30
3.Johnson RW, Wasner G, Saddier P, Baron R. Postherpetic neuralgia:
    epidemiology, Pathophysiology and management. Expert Rev Neurother
    2007;7(11):1581-95.
4.Brisson M, Edmunds WJ, Law B, et al. Epidemiology of varicella zoster
    virus infection in Canada and the United Kingdom. Epidemiol Infect
    2001;127(2):305-14.

About Sanofi Pasteur MSD

Sanofi Pasteur MSD is a joint venture between Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine
division of Sanofi, and Merck, known as MSD outside the USA and Canada.
Combining innovation and expertise, Sanofi Pasteur MSD is the only company in
Europe dedicated exclusively to vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur MSD is able to draw
on the research expertise of Sanofi Pasteur and Merck to focus on the
development of new vaccines for Europe to improve the acceptability, efficacy
and tolerability of vaccination.

Contact: For further information please contact: Caroline ASHE, Senior
Director External Communications Europe, Sanofi Pasteur MSD, Tel:
+33-4-37-28-4040, Mob: +33-6-33-46-1365, CAshe@spmsd.com
 
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