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PHARMAC decision to fund shingles vaccine

PHARMAC will add the shingles vaccine (Zostavax®) to the National Immunisation Schedule from 1 April 2018. One dose of Zostavax will be funded for adults aged 65 years. A 'catch-up' programme will be available for the first two years, for people aged from 66–80 years inclusively. Funded vaccine doses will only be available through general practice. Zostavax is available for purchase by ineligible adults through general practice and some pharmacies.

Zostavax can be administered to adults:

  • At the same visit as other vaccines, including influenza, pneumococcal, tetanus/diphtheria and other Schedule vaccines. 
  • Whether or not they recall a history of chickenpox disease. Do not do serology to check varicella immunity.
  • If they have had herpes zoster in the past.
  • If they are living with someone who is immunocompromised.

Zostavax should not be given to:

  • Individuals with current leukaemia, lymphoma, or other bone/marrow/lymphatic neoplasms.
  • Individuals with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or other medical condition causing cellular immunodeficiency.
  • Individuals with tuberculosis (TB).
  • Anyone with severe allergy (anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of herpes zoster virus vaccine or a component of the vaccine.

Specialist advice should be sought for the following groups:

  • Individuals taking immunosuppressive medication or who are recovering from immunosuppressive treatment.
  • Individuals who are HIV-positive.

 Read the full PHARMAC decision.

Last updated: Nov 2017