Shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine

Information about the shingles vaccine, who it is recommended for, and how and where to get vaccinated. If you're eligible, you can get the shingles vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program.

Changes to the shingles vaccine available under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) came into effect from 1 November 2023. The shingles vaccine Shingrix has replaced Zostavax on the NIP.

Shingles (also called herpes zoster) is the disease caused when the chickenpox virus reactivates. Shingles can cause severe pain that can last for months.

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect yourself from serious disease caused by shingles.

Who should get vaccinated against shingles

Free shingles vaccination under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) is available for eligible people most at risk of complications from shingles.

A 2-dose course of Shingrix is available for free for:

  • people aged 65 years and over
  • First Nations people aged 50 years and over
  • immunocompromised people aged 18 years and over with the following medical conditions:
    • haematopoietic stem cell transplant
    • solid organ transplant
    • haematological malignancy
    • advanced or untreated HIV.

If you previously received a free Zostavax shingles vaccine under the NIP, you are not eligible for a free Shingrix vaccine for at least 5 years.  

If you purchased the Zostavax vaccine privately, you can receive Shingrix for free under the program if you’re eligible.

You should wait at least 12 months between receiving Zostavax and getting the Shingrix vaccine. 

Talk to your health professional about your eligibility for the free shingles vaccine today.  

Find more information on shingles vaccination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Anyone who wants to protect themselves against shingles can talk to their health professional about getting vaccinated.

The Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends shingles vaccination for specific groups including:

  • people aged 50 years and over
  • immunocompromised people aged 18 years and over
  • people aged 50 years and over who live in the same household as someone who has a weakened immune system.

Shingrix vaccine does not contain the live virus and is safe for people with immunocompromise. Discuss with your health professional whether this vaccine is right for you.

Read more about Getting vaccinated.

How to get vaccinated against shingles

The shingles vaccine is a single vaccine, not a combination vaccine (2 or more different vaccines in 1 dose).

Shingrix consists of 2 doses given 2 to 6 months apart in immunocompetent (healthy) people, or 1 to 2 months apart in people who are immunocompromised.

Find product information and consumer medicine information for Shingrix and other shingles vaccines from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Where to get vaccinated

You can get your vaccine from a range of health professionals. To find out where and more about your vaccination, visit getting vaccinated.

Possible side effects of shingles vaccination

You may experience minor side effects following vaccination. Most reactions are mild and last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.

Common side effects that may present 1 to 3 days after shingles vaccination include:

  • pain, redness and swelling at injection site
  • tiredness, muscle aches, headaches and fever
  • gastrointestinal symptoms.

Serious reactions to immunisation are rare. 

Talk to your health professional about possible side effects of shingles vaccines, or if you have possible side effects that worry you.

The Consumer Medicine Information available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website lists the ingredients and side effects of each vaccine.

Learn more about the possible side effects of vaccination.

Resources

Shield yourself from shingles – Resources collection

This collection contains a fact sheet, brochures, posters, videos and a health professionals' kit about shingles vaccinations for eligible people aged 65 and over. We have separate resources for First Nations people aged 50 and over.

National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance - Zoster vaccines (Shingrix® [RZV] and Zostavax® [ZVL]) FAQs

This website provides information and answers to frequently asked questions for health professionals.

 

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