New shingles vaccine available in Australia

Global healthcare company, GSK Australia has today [8 June 2021] announced that a new vaccine to help protect against shingles in adults aged 50 years and older is now available via private prescription from a medical doctor in Australia.

Professor Tony Cunningham, Infectious Disease Physician and Clinical Virologist, welcomes the additional options to help prevent shingles and its associated complications.

“Shingles can be very painful. The pain associated with shingles is often described as burning, shooting or stabbing. The acute pain can last for between two to four weeks, with some people potentially experiencing complications and chronic pain for months.

“Doctors never like to see their patients in pain. Shingles can be difficult to treat once the symptoms break out, so vaccines can play an important role in helping reduce the impact of the infection here in Australia where up to one in three people experience the disease,” says Professor Cunningham.

Vaccines Medical Director at GSK Australia, Co Luu says bringing innovative medicines and vaccines to Australia is a core focus.

“GSK Australia is very proud to make this shingle vaccine available in Australia,” says Mr Luu.

“GSK has been at the heart of research into how the immune system declines as we age, and we know that more prevention options are needed.

“We are thrilled that with the supply of Shingrix into Australia, we will be able to help protect more Australians from shingles.

“GSK is committed to bringing innovative solutions to the people who need them most, and today’s announcement [8 June 2021] is evidence of that.”

Shingrix is reportedly registered for Australian adults aged 50 years and over for the prevention of shingles and prevention of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a complication of shingles that can result in persistent nerve pain for months or years after the initial shingles rash resolves. 1,2

Shingrix is said to be a non-live, recombinant subunit vaccine given intramuscularly in two doses. It will be available via a private prescription from a medical doctor for people aged 50-plus.

Reference:

  1. Zoster (herpes zoster). Australian Immunisation Handbook. Australian Department of Health 2020. Available at: https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/vaccine-preventable-diseases/zoster-herpes-zoster#expand-collapse-all-top (Accessed Apr 2021).
  2. National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). Herpes zoster factsheet. Available at: https://www.ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2018-12/zostervaccine-fact-sheet.pdf (Accessed Apr 2021).
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