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Defend yourself from shingles with the updated program. Here are answers to common questions:

What is shingles? Shingles is a viral infection causing a painful rash. It stems from the same virus as chickenpox and can lead to serious complications like nerve pain, pneumonia, and more.

Who’s at risk? About 1 in 3 people may get shingles, especially those over 65, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 50, and those with weakened immune systems.

Who gets the free vaccine? Free Shingrix vaccine for people over 65, Indigenous individuals over 50, and immunocompromised individuals (18+) with specific conditions.

Can you get the vaccine if you had Zostavax? Yes, with conditions. Free if you had Zostavax five years ago. Privately vaccinated individuals can get it free with a recommended 12-month interval.

How many doses do you need? Two doses, 2-6 months apart for most, 1-2 months for those with weakened immune systems.

Where to get the free vaccine? Check with your provider. Free from Nov 1, 2023. Book at local practices, immunisation clinics, health centres, Aboriginal services, and some pharmacies.

Do you still need it after having shingles? Yes, recommended after a 12-month wait. Immunocompromised individuals can take it 3 months after illness.

Reimbursement for privately purchased doses? No reimbursement if eligible for free vaccination. The second dose is free from Nov 1, 2023.

Is the vaccine safe and effective? Yes, safe and highly effective. No live virus. Safe for adults with weakened immune systems.

Any side effects? Temporary, mild side effects like pain, redness, fatigue, and headaches. Can be given with other vaccines, but best alone if possible.

Where to get more information? Visit health.gov.au/shingles-vaccine or contact your local health department.

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