THE HON MARK BUTLER MP
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND AGED CARE
THE HON STEPHEN JONES MP
MINISTER FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR WHITLAM
ALISON BYRNES MP
MEMBER FOR CUNNINGHAM
From 1 November, nearly 67,000 older Australians in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands will have free access to the best protection against shingles through one of the most comprehensive and widely available vaccination programs in the world.
The Albanese Government is investing $826.8 million to provide almost 5 million people who are at risk of severe disease from shingles with a free Shingrix® vaccine under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
This includes everyone aged 65 years and over, First Nations people 50 years and over, and immunocompromised people 18 years and over at high risk of herpes zoster infection.
Shingrix® provides around 10 years of protection and usually costs up to $560 – for almost 5 million Australians that will now be free.
Shingles is caused by reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox and presents as a painful blistering rash on one side of the face or body that lasts 10-15 days. 1 in 5 people with shingles will develop severe nerve pain known as post-herpetic neuralgia that can last months or even years. In some cases, it may be permanent.
The risk of developing shingles increases with age and people aged 65 years and over are at highest risk of complications like post-herpetic neuralgia.
Shingrix® will replace Zostavax® on the NIP from 1 November 2023, following advice from the independent medicines experts at the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“Without vaccination, almost one in three Australians will get shingles in their lifetime.
“Thanks to the Albanese Government older Australians will now have free access to the best protection against shingles through one of the most comprehensive and widely available vaccination programs in the world.”
“This investment will ensure nearly five million Australians can get free protection from shingles and the very painful nerve damage that it causes.
“Shingles can be severe, so it’s really important that eligible people talk to their GP or pharmacist about getting the shingles vaccine.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones:
“The Albanese Government is providing older Australians with the best protection against shingles, completely free.”
“A Shingrix® vaccine would usually cost up to $560, and now nearly 67,000 locals are going to be able to receive this shingles protection free of charge.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Cunningham Alison Byrnes:
“Free access to the latest shingles vaccine means people in the Illawarra now have protection and peace of mind.”
“Everyone aged 65 years and over, First Nations people 50 years and over, and immunocompromised people 18 years and over at high risk of herpes zoster infection are eligible and can talk to their local GP or pharmacist about getting the vaccine.”