The Federal Government recently announced the shingles vaccine will be free to Australians aged 70, with a catch-up program available for eligible people aged 71 to 79 years.
Shingles is a painful rash, which can blister and is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. It is a serious infection that can be particularly debilitating on older people.
As we age, we are at greater risk of more severe and longer-lasting pain associated with the infection, so prevention with vaccination is always better than treatment.
Further, the debilitating nature of shingles could stop people from spending time with their family and friends, or participating in regular community activities – and we know staying connected is important in keeping older Australians healthy and independent.
With the introduction of the shingles vaccine, the National Immunisation Program (NIP) now provides free vaccines for eligible people against 17 infectious diseases. Older Australians are also able to receive free pneumonia and influenza vaccines through the Program.
If you are interested in having the shingles vaccine, please speak to your GP. For more information about the NIP and the NIP schedule, visit immunise.health.gov.au/