Free shingles vaccine for 70-79 year olds

A new vaccine is being provided free of charge for people aged between 70-79 through the National Immunisation Program. Zostavax is a vaccine to prevent shingles (see below for more information about shingles and the vaccine)

At Erskineville Doctors we currently have small stock of Zostavax. A doctor will write the order for the vaccine, but it can be given by our practice nurse. There are a few situations where we would not advise the vaccine, this is mainly in people whose immune system is severely compromised by a disease process or medications. You should discuss this with your doctor.


Shingles (also known as herpes zoster) is a localised, painful, skin rash resulting from reactivation of the same virus (the varicella-zoster virus) that causes chickenpox earlier in life. Although usually self-limiting, shingles can lead to chronic neuropathic pain syndrome, and other complications.

About 20–30% of people will have shingles in their lifetime, most after the age of 50 years. Older people (particularly those aged over 70 years) are also more likely to have shingles complicated by chronic pain.

Vaccination of people aged 70–79 years is estimated to prevent about 41% of the cases of shingles and two-thirds of post-herpetic neuralgia cases in that population. In vaccinated people in whom an episode of shingles occurs, the pain, severity and duration is reduced by 50%.

For further reading go to NCIRS

When you phone for an appointment, please let our receptionist know that you would like this immunisation. If you are booking online choose the Immunisation appointment (15 min). You can book with our practice nurse if this is the only reason for your appointment, otherwise book an appointment with your GP. If you are likely to see us in the next few months you can just make a note to ask us about vaccines then.