The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
Australians aged between 71-79 years will continue to be able to receive a free Zostavax® shingles vaccine, with the Morrison Government extending the program for another two years to 31 October 2023.
Shingles is a painful rash which can blister, caused by the same virus as chickenpox. It is a serious infection that is particularly debilitating for older people. One in three adults are at risk of developing the virus in their lifetime.
As people get older, they are at greater risk of experiencing more severe and long-lasting pain associated with the shingles infection, so prevention with vaccination is always a better option than treatment.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said originally announced in 2016, we’re extending the catch-up program to enable more Australians to receive the free vaccine and prevent shingles.
“Since November 2016, our Government has invested over $300 million to ensure older Australians can continue to access this life changing vaccine,” Minister Hunt said.
“To date, more than 1.2 million Australians aged 70-79 have received a free shingles vaccine as part of this program and we want to provide assurance that the vaccine will continue to be free for another two years.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions have meant that many Australians have not been able to access a Zostavax vaccine, and this extension will ensure they need not miss out.”
The Zostavax program includes a time-limited catch-up for people aged 71 to 79 years old, who missed the vaccine at 70 years of age, which was due to expire on 31 October 2021.
The Zostavax vaccine has been life changing for many Australians, particularly older people. They are able to spend more time with their family and grandchildren and on other activities, which we know are vitally important in keeping older Australians happier and healthier.