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Shingrix vaccine roll-out

Changes to the NIP - Information for Providers

From 1 November 2023, the varicella virus recombinant vaccine, Shingrix®, replaces Zostavax®, on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule for the prevention of shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia.

It is available for eligible people most at risk of complications from shingles (1). The program changes follow recommendations from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and other clinical experts (1).


2-doses of Shingrix® will be available free of charge through the NIP for (1):

  1. People aged 65 years and older.
  2. First Nations people aged 50 years and older.
  3. Immunocompromised people aged 18 years and older with the following specific medical conditions:
  • haemopoietic stem cell transplant
  • solid organ transplant
  • haematological malignancy
  • advanced or untreated HIV.

For people who are immunocompetent, the recommended schedule is 2 doses given 2–6 months apart.

For people who are immunocompromised, the recommended schedule is 2 doses given 1–2 months apart (2).

Unlike Zostavax®, Shingrix® does not contain any live virus so it can be given to people aged 18 years and over who are immunocompromised (1).

People who have previously received a funded dose of Zostavax are not eligible to receive a funded course of Shingrix until 5 years after the Zostavax dose.

GPs experience high demand for Shingrix.

General practitioners have reported a soaring demand from patients over 65 years of age who are requesting Shingrix. This may lead to supply issues and delays anticipated to last until early January 2024 (3).

It is recommended that practices prioritize immunisation for their patients at highest risk of complications from shingles. Risk increases with age and is higher in those who are immunocompromised. Common patient management software such as Best Practice and Medical Director offer search functions that help providers to filter by age, selected immunocompromising conditions and ethnicity.

  1. Australian Government. Department of Health and Aged Care. National Immunisation Program – changes to shingles vaccination from 1 November 2023. 08.10.2023. National Immunisation Program – changes to shingles vaccination from 1 November 2023 | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
  2. Australian Government. Department of Health. National Immunisation Handbook. Zoster (herpes zoster) | The Australian Immunisation Handbook (
  3. Joint Statement on Shingrix® vaccine restrictions: NSW Health, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Australian Medial Association, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

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