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Protecting Our Mob From Shingles

The new Shingles vaccine, Shingrix, is available now and is free for all eligible people including all First Nations people aged 50 years and over.

At Kambu Health, our number one goal is to look after our patient’s health.

Shingles will affect 1 in 3 of us in our lifetime.

It can affect people of any age but is more common (and nasty) in people over the age of 50. We know that at least 90% of Australians carry the virus that can cause Shingles.

Our goal is to catch it before it catches you. With this new vaccine we can stop Shingles in it’s tracks.

What is Shingles?

Shingles is a painful viral infection. Shingles can be really serious, especially for people with a weak immune system or those aged over 50 years. It affects nerves and the skin around that nerve which causes a painful rash. It can even lead to serious illness.

The rash is usually seen on the face, chest, back or stomach area. Shingles is particularly nasty if it affects the eye or ear regions.

It’s caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox (Herpes Zoster) so anyone who’s had chickenpox as a kid, can get shingles as an adult.

Most people with Shingles will get better within a couple of weeks, but for some people Shingles can be more serious causing:

- Nerve pain which can last months to years

- Blindness

- Deafness

- Pneumonia

- Swelling of the brain (very rare)

If you are worried you may have Shingles, please see your healthcare worker urgently for assessment as treatment started within the first three (3) days of the rash can stop the symptoms from worsening.

The Shingles Vaccine

The good news is that Shingles can be prevented through immunisation.

The even better news is that there is a new, safe, and very effective vaccine available, called Shingrix.

And the best news of all is that it’s available now, it’s free on the National Immunisation Programme and all First Nations people aged 50 years and over are eligible.

The course is two (2) doses of Shingrix given a couple of months apart and it’s free for:

• people aged 65 years and over (non-Indigenous)

• First Nations people aged 50 years and over

• immunocompromised people aged 18 years and over with the following medical conditions:

o haematopoietic stem cell transplant

o solid organ transplant

o haematological malignancy

o advanced or untreated HIV.


Can I get the free shingles vaccine if I’ve already had one?

- Shingrix replaces Zostavax as the shingles vaccine

- If you’ve already had Zostavax through the National Immunisation Programme, congratulations, you’re covered for Shingles for at least five (5) years! After this time you can get a free Shingrix vaccine

- If you bought the Zostavax vaccine privately, but are eligible for the new Shingrix vaccine, you can get this as long as there has been at least 12 months since you had Zostavax.

How many doses of the Shingles vaccine do I need?

- You should have two (2) doses of the Shingles vaccine

- Both are free

- They are given between two (2) and six (6) months apart usually or one (1) to two (2) months apart if you have a weakened immune system)

Do I still need to get the vaccine if I’ve already had shingles?

- Yes! Sadly, it is possible to get shingles more than once

- But you should wait at least 12 months after having shingles to get the vaccine

Is it safe?

- Yes.

- It is not a ‘live vaccine’ and cannot cause shingles

- It’s also very good at preventing shingles and stopping the bad longer-term effects from the infection.

What are the side effects?

- These are usually mild and include:

o Pain, redness or swelling at the injection site

o Tiredness, headache, and fever

- These usually go away in a couple of days.

- Very rarely, as with any vaccine, more serious reactions such as allergy can occur but this is extremely unusual.

Please contact Kambu Health today to book in with your preferred Health provider to talk about the vaccine. It’s safe and it works and we are delighted to be able to offer this for our patients.


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