National Immunisation Program – changes to shingles vaccination from today

Department of Health

From today, the shingles vaccine Shingrix has replaced Zostavax on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule for the prevention of shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia.

It is now available for eligible people most at risk of complications from shingles.

A 2-dose course of Shingrix is available for free for:

  • people aged 65 years and older
  • First Nations people aged 50 years and older
  • immunocompromised people aged 18 years and older with the following medical conditions:
    • haematopoietic stem cell transplant
    • solid organ transplant
    • haematological malignancy
    • advanced or untreated HIV.

Some restrictions apply:

  • People who have received a free Zostavax shingles vaccine under the NIP are not eligible for a free Shingrix vaccine for at least 5 years.
  • Those who purchased Zostavax vaccine privately can receive Shingrix free under the program if they are eligible.
  • It is recommended to wait at least 12 months between receiving Zostavax and getting the Shingrix vaccine.

Unlike Zostavax, Shingrix does not contain any live virus so it can be given to people aged 18 years and over who are immunocompromised.

The program changes follow recommendations from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and other clinical experts.

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