Varicella Zoster (Shingles) - (Shingrix)

Herpes Zoster or Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is the reactivation of the same viral infection that causes chickenpox which can stay dormant in nerves for many years. Shingles infection may arise when the individual’s immune system is weakened, commonly affecting older adults. Shingles presents as a painful unilateral rash often started by a tingling, burning sensation which leads to severe itching, aching, and blistering, where the blisters can be highly contagious. Shingles can cause severe complications if affecting the eyes and chronic nerve damage to the areas affected years after rash has cleared. As a virus that can stay dormant, it is possible for people to have multiple episodes of shingles with the risks increasing with age.

Shingrix® is approved for use for the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) and herpes zoster complications such as post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) in adults aged over 50 years. PHN is a debilitating and painful condition, particularly in older people. Two doses are funded at age 65 years. It is recommended, but not funded, for all individuals aged from 50 years.

It has been shown to be highly effective with studies >90% in preventing shingles. Response currently last for up to 10 yrs and data still being collected on this and this may extend.


Available for those > 50yrs regardless if prior episode of shingles. If recently had shingles you need to wait 12 months before having the vaccine.

If you have had the Zostavax vaccine (previous shingles vaccine) you can have Shingrix vaccine after 12 months.

Funding and cost:

If 65yrs old can get funded Shingrix, 2 doses 2 - 6 months apart. If first dose given at 65yrs can have 2nd dose at 66yrs. The first dose is the only one needing to be in your 65th year.

If not 65yrs it is not funded. You need to have 2 doses. $350/dose. Total for course will be $700.

More information on the IMAC website

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