Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Vaccination
Herpes Zoster, commonly known as shingles, is a reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus in a person who has previously had varicella (chickenpox). About 1 in 3 people will experience shingles in their lifetime. It is more common in people over 50 years old, people who are immunocompromised, and those who had chickenpox as an infant.
Shingles typically presents as a painful, blistering rash on one side of the face or body. Some people experience itching, tingling, and severe pain in the area 48-72 hours before the rash appears. Other symptoms may include fever, headache, and nausea.
The most common complication of shingles is post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a type of nerve pain that can persist for months after the rash disappears. PHN can affect up to 25% of people with shingles, and it is more common and severe in older people. Other complications of shingles can include eye disease, neurological problems, and hearing problems.
How is Herpes Zoster diagnosed and treated?
Shingles is usually diagnosed by a doctor’s examination of the rash. The fluid in the blisters can also be tested to confirm a diagnosis.
Antiviral medication can reduce the severity and duration of shingles, if started within 72 hours of onset of rash. Antivirals can also reduce the risk of PHN. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, and prescription medication can be used for pain relief.
How can I protect myself from Herpes Zoster?
Vaccination is the best protection against shingles. It is recommended that people aged 50 years and over, and people who are immunocompromised and aged 18 years and over get vaccinated against Herpes Zoster.
Who can get vaccinated at National Pharmacies?
Pharmacists in South Australia can administer Herpes Zoster vaccines to people aged 50 and over
Shingrix is not funded by the NIP in community pharmacy so if you are eligible to be covered by the NIP please contact your GP.
Victoria and New South Wales
Pharmacists in Victoria and New South Wales can administer Herpes Zoster vaccines to people aged 18 years and over.
Shingrix is NIP funded to the following people:
- 65 years and over
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged 50 years and over
- Immunocompromised adults aged 18 years and over
The shingles vaccine your pharmacist can administer requires a 2 dose schedule (i.e. an initial dose followed by a second dose 2-6 months later).
Herpes Zoster Vaccination Pricing: Members $294 per dose, Retail Price $319 per dose.