02 November 2016

Free shingles vaccine now available

WA Health is encouraging people aged 70-79 to receive the free shingles vaccination offered through the National Immunisation Program.

Shingles is a painful blistering rash caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus – the same virus that causes chickenpox. In addition to severe pain, the virus may cause other complications including scarring, skin infections, loss of vision or hearing, pneumonia and neurological complications.

WA Health Communicable Disease Control Director Dr Paul Armstrong welcomed the recent inclusion of the shingles vaccine for older Australians as part of the Federal Government’s National Immunisation Program.

“One in three people will develop shingles in their lifetime. As a person gets older, the risk of developing shingles increases,” he said.

“Research shows that people aged 70-79 are the age group at greatest risk of developing a serious, painful complication from shingles known as post herpetic neuralgia, where the person experiences pain in the area affected by shingles for a long period, sometimes months.

“It is therefore important that people in this age range receive the free shingles vaccine.”

From November 2016, the free shingles vaccine will be available to people aged 70 years. It will also be available to those aged 71-79 until October 2021. The vaccination is available from general practitioners and other vaccination providers.

For more information visit www.healthywa.wa.gov.au

ENDS

Media contact: (08) 9222 4333

Follow us on Twitter: @WAHealth