Free shingles jab coming for millions of Australians
Australians most at risk of complications from developing shingles will be eligible to receive a free vaccine against the virus.
Over-65s will soon be able to get free protection against shingles as part of a multimillion-dollar vaccination program.
More than five million people will be eligible for a vaccination against the virus from November 1 as part of the National Immunisation Program.
The federal government will spend more than $826 million to provide the protection for those most at risk from severe diseases.
The free vaccines will be offered to those aged over 65 and Indigenous Australians over 50, along with immunocompromised people 18 and older.
Health Minister Mark Butler said the shots would provide 10 years of protections from shingles.
"Without vaccination, almost one in three Australians will get shingles in their lifetime," Mr Butler said.
"Older Australians will now have free access to the best protection against shingles through one of the most comprehensive and widely available vaccination programs in the world."
The Shingrix vaccine, which normally costs $560 per immunisation, will replace Zostavax vaccine on the immunisation program, following advice from the leading advisory body on vaccines.
Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the same virus which causes chickenpox.
It's estimated one in five people with shingles develop nerve pain from the virus that can last for months or as long as several years.