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  • Over 70% of shingles cases occur in people aged over 50 years.
  • About 1 in 3 people will develop shingles in their lifetime, regardless of how healthy they may feel.
  • Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop shingles, especially people over 50, those with a weakened immune system, and those who had chickenpox in their first year of life.
  • Nearly all adults 50 years and older already carry the inactive virus that causes shingles.
  • Those with a weakened immune system, including people who have chronic health conditions may be more likely to develop shingles.
  • The likelihood of painful complications from shingles increases with age.

There are two vaccines, Zostavax and Shingrix, registered for use in Australia to prevent shingles in adults aged 50 and over. From 1 November 2016, people aged 70 years are eligible for the Zostavax vaccine at no cost under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Those aged 71-79 can also get the Zostavax vaccine for free until 31 October 2023.

Zostavax is not recommended for people who have weakened immune systems.

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