Shingles (herpes zoster) immunisation program

In 2021, The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) released a Clinical Statement (external site)  on the use of Zostavax vaccine and Shingrix vaccine for prevention of herpes zoster and its complications. 

A fact sheet (external site) and FAQ (external site) is available for Zoster vaccines and includes new information for contraindications to vaccination.

Watch the video presentation by Dr Jack Bourke about the shingles vaccine below.

National Immunisation Program (NIP)

In November 2016, the Zostavax vaccine was added to the national immunisation schedule and the following adults are eligible to receive the free shingles vaccine:

  • people aged 70 years of age as part of an ongoing program
  • people aged 71-79 years of age as a catch up program until 31 October 2023.

Zostavax is contraindicated for people with certain current or recent immunocompromising conditions.  A screening tool (external site) is available for assessing contraindications and safety of administrating Zostavax. 

People who are not eligible for the free vaccine can purchase the Zostavax and Shingrix vaccine on the private market.

See related links for the WA Immunisation schedule.

Mandatory reporting for providers

Providers must submit shingles vaccination data to the Australian Immunisation Register (external site) (AIR). Legislative changes mean that from 1 July 2021, vaccination providers are now required to report all NIP vaccines administered to the AIR.

Patient information 

Visit HealthyWA for patient information about shingles and the shingles vaccine.

Resources are available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (external site) and translated brochures (external site) for people from non-English speaking backgrounds. 

Zostavax vaccine magnet for patients

The WA Department of Health has developed a resource for patients receiving the Zostavax vaccine. Health professionals are reminded that, on rare occasions, disseminated varicella-zoster virus infection can occur in patients following administration of Zostavax vaccine. Patients should be advised to seek medical attention if they become unwell after receiving Zostavax, and to ensure that they mention their vaccination history to their treating health professional.

To order this resource and browse other Immunisation-related publications, visit the WA Health online publication ordering system (external site). This is a free bulk ordering service.