Zostavax is a vaccine to help reduce the risk of getting shingles in the future. The shingles vaccine, Zostavax®, has been approved to be placed on the National Immunisation Program (NIP), to be provided free of charge from 1 November 2016 to people aged 70 years, subject to vaccine supply.
Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is also responsible for chickenpox. It occurs because of a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, which remains in the nerve cells of the body after an attack of chickenpox.
People who get chickenpox are at risk of developing shingles later in life, since the virus lies dormant in the body. Fortunately, it is rare to have more than one attack of shingles.
ZOSTAVAX is given as a single vaccine. The vaccine cannot be used to treat Shingles, or the nerve pain that may follow Shingles, once you have it. It can be given 12 months following a bout of shingles to prevent reinfection later in life.
The sooner you get vaccinated, the better your chances of protecting yourself from Shingles.
There will also be a five year catch-up program, whereby people aged between 71 – 79 years will be eligible for the Government funded vaccine.
At Brindabella Family Practice we will provide the Government funded vaccine ZOSTAVAX to patients 70 – 79 years of age. People outside this age group who are considering vaccination should talk to their Doctor to check eligibility.