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Shingles Vaccine

Glebe Hill Family Practice stocks the shingles vaccine, Zostavax®.


Herpes-zoster (Shingles) is a painful blistering rash caused by reactivation of the varicella zoster virus – the same virus that causes chickenpox. The shingles rash occurs when the dormant chickenpox virus is reactivated in the nerve tissue, causing inflammation of the nerves. Sometimes pain in the affected region can be severe and prolonged. When it lasts more than 3 months it is called post herpetic neuralgia (PHN). Other less common complications may include scarring, skin infections, loss of vision or hearing, pneumonia, or neurological complications.

What causes shingles

Once you have had chickenpox, the virus can stay in your nervous system for many years. For reasons that are not fully understood, the virus may become active again and give you shingles. Shingles can spread through direct contact with an uncovered rash. 1 in 3 people will develop shingles in their lifetime. As a person gets older, the risk of getting shingles and PHN increases.

Symptoms of shingles

Initial symptoms of shingles can include headache, fever, flu like symptoms and malaise (general feeling of uneasiness). A stinging or burning sensation may appear on the affected area before the appearance of the skin rash (normally within 1-2 days of the initial symptoms).

The rash is commonly on the trunk or body but can also appear on the face or other parts of the body and can be quite painful, causing a tingling or burning sensation. It creates a stripe or belt like pattern on the affected area and is usually limited to one side of the body. The rash forms small blisters which fill with a liquid and burst before the skin crust over and heals.

Although most people recover within a few weeks, some go on to develop chronic nerve pain called post herpetic neuralgia. This may be severe and can sometimes go on for months.

Prevention of shingles

  • Shingles is a vaccine preventable disease.
  • Immunisation against shingles is achieved by a dose of the Zostavax® vaccine which can be given to adults 50 years and over.
  • Even if you have already had shingles, the vaccine can prevent recurrent shingles.

National Shingles Vaccination Program

  • The shingles vaccine is provided free for people aged 70 years under the National Immunisation Program.
  • There is also a five year catch-up program for people aged 71 – 79 years until 31 October 2021.

People who are not eligible to receive the free vaccine

  • Zostavax is safe and effective for people aged 50 and over
  • If you are not aged 70 - 79 but you'd like to have the shingles vaccine, please make an appointment to discuss it with your GP
  • Zostavax can be provided privately by ordering it into the surgery, or by providing a prescription for purchase at the Pharmacy


To have the shingles vaccination book an Immunisation Appointment at Glebe Hill Family Practice.

All consultations for immunisations are bulk-billed at Glebe Hill Family Practice.