Read Minister Butler’s doorstop in Adelaide on the shingles vaccine program in Adelaide on 24 December 2023

New shingles vaccine program has delivered half a million doses of the Shingrix vaccine with a further half a million due to be delivered in January.

The Hon Mark Butler MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care

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JOURNALIST: Minister, you say there is no shortage and there are no restrictions on Shingrix being handed out to GPs but GPs are saying that there is a shortage, they're not getting them. Where is the problem? Is the problem in the delivery?

MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND AGED CARE, MARK BUTLER: As the most comprehensive shingles vaccine program on the planet, we always knew this was going to be popular, which is why we've worked so closely with the company to ensure that deliveries of this cutting edge vaccine, Shingrix, keeps up with expected demand.

The program's only been running for seven or eight weeks and already we have delivered half a million doses of the vaccine with almost half a million due to be delivered in January alone. And after that hundreds and hundreds of thousands of vaccine have been ordered so we are very confident that the program has been delivered as we designed. Not a single order made to the Commonwealth has not been filled. That is the important thing, every single order that's been made to the Commonwealth for Shingrix vaccine has been delivered. And as I say, hundreds of thousands more doses will be delivered over the course of January. 

JOURNALIST: These GPs are saying that they don't have enough doses for the number of people walking through the door wanting it does that suggest that you underestimated demand?

BUTLER: What I would encourage GPs to do is to use the order system they have in place for the National Immunisation Program. This is just another vaccine on the National Immunisation Program. We issue the vaccine doses to the states and territories and they arrange the delivery of doses to general practice and other points of administration. So, if GPs are having difficulty getting the doses that they think they need, I encourage them to use the usual ordering system available for National Immunisation Program. But I do make the point, every single order made to the Commonwealth for delivery has been made. 

JOURNALIST: So the problem is the states? 

BUTLER: What I'm saying is this is a new program. in just the seven or eight weeks since this new program started on the 1st of November, half a million doses have been delivered, and almost half a million will be delivered over the course of January. That is a very substantial number of vaccine doses for a very new program. 

JOURNALIST: I understand that the date of high stock availability will be February. That's come from some GPs. Is that accurate? 

BUTLER: There will be very substantial delivery over the course of January, as I said, half a million have already been delivered. Almost half a million will be delivered in two tranches over the course of January. And between January and the end of June, there will be hundreds and hundreds of thousands of additional doses as well. We have worked very closely with the company, we know this is the most comprehensive shingles vaccine program on the planet, which is why we expect it to be popular. And we've made sure that our arrangements with the company are going to keep pace with that demand.

JOURNALIST: So even though we are hearing that GPs are only getting sort of up to 20 allocated is this rollout working exactly as you would have hoped so far? 

BUTLER: As I said, we've already delivered half a million doses, we'll be delivering almost half a million in January. This is a popular program. It's the most comprehensive shingles program on the planet, about 5 million, mainly older Australians will be eligible for this program and we expect significant numbers to be taking it up.



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