There is much excitement in the media about the new availability of Shingrix on the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Shingrix is a vaccine that helps protect against shingles, or herpes zoster virus. Starting from November 1st, 2023, eligible individuals will have access to the Shingrix vaccine at no cost.
Shingles manifests as a skin rash with pain often described as burning or tingling, followed by emergence of blisters. In some cases, shingles can be accompanied by fever and fatigue, with nerve pain lasting weeks after the initial rash. The worst manifestation of shingles affects the eye and can cause damage to vision if untreated.
Therefore, at Summers Avenue Family Medical Practice, we recommend all eligible patients to receive Shingrix as it is highly effective at reducing the risk of developing shingles and its associated complications, as well as reducing the severity and duration of shingles if it does occur. It is considered the preferred shingles vaccine for most adults due to its effectiveness and longer-lasting protection.
Who can get the free vaccine?
A 2-dose course of Shingrix will be available free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for:
People aged 65 years and over
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over, and
Immunocompromised people aged 18 years and over with the following medical conditions:
Haemopoietic stem cell transplant
Solid organ transplant
Haematological malignancy (blood cancer)
Advanced or untreated HIV
Please note that if you have received the older NIP vaccine, Zostavax, within the last five years, you will not be eligible for Shingrix.
Unfortunately, demand for Shingrix is understandably very high and our clinic is only receiving around a dozen vaccines a month at this stage. As a result, we are prioritising patients who are in the immunocompromised category to receive Shingrix first. We hope that we will be able to immunise patients more broadly as supply improves.
If you are immunocompromised and would like to seek priority for receiving the Shingrix vaccine under NIP, please contact the practice on 9482 3500 to enquire further.
For more information please see the Fact Sheet from the National Immunisation Program.