A shingles vaccine has been around for a number of years. The one-dose vaccine is licensed over the age of 50 years. National Australian guidelines recommend the vaccine in people over 60 years. In this age group, the vaccine is estimated to halve the rate of shingles, and to reduce the number of cases of PHP by 60%.
The live vaccine is relatively expensive and cost has so far been the major barrier to uptake.
Public funding for shingles vaccination of people age 70 to 79 years started in Australia from 1/11/2016.
You may have noticed that The Australian immunisation handbook (>500 pages of it) recommends the shingles vaccine in all adults over 60 years, but government funding is for adults 70 to 79. There will always be a difference between optimal recommendations and funded recommendations. Other publicly funded systems such as The UK’s NHS are also funding it for those age 70 to 79. This age group is the sweet-spot for the shingles vaccine – shingles is common and the vaccine is effective.
People age 60-69 may decide to fund the vaccine themselves. Current prices of ®Zostavax are a little over $200.
The vaccine “lasts” around 5 to 10 years. Mild injection site pain or redness occurs in half of people who have the vaccine.