Shingles Vaccine

Shingles Vaccine - Shingrix

As we age, the significance of safeguarding our health becomes increasingly evident, with vaccination emerging as a key strategy in this endeavour. Shingles, a condition arising in individuals with a history of chickenpox, tends to become more prevalent as we advance in age. Fortunately, Shingrix stands as a protective shield against the condition.

Understanding Shingrix

Shingrix represents a transformative approach to defending ourselves against shingles. This condition, notorious for inducing a painful rash and prolonged discomfort, now faces a more effective preventative measure. What sets Shingrix apart is its composition – derived from a component of the virus itself, yet crucially not a live vaccine. This attribute renders it suitable for a broader audience, including people with certain immune system issues.

With Shingrix, doctors now possess a more potent tool in their arsenal to safeguard patients, particularly those aged 50 and above, from the complications of shingles. By bolstering the immune system’s response to the virus, Shingrix establishes a robust line of defense, marking a significant stride forward in preventative healthcare.

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People who have previously received Zostavax should receive the Shingrix vaccination for a more comprehensive and robust approach to shingles prevention.

Clinical trials have demonstrated that Shingrix provides protection against shingles for a minimum of four years, with indications suggesting the potential for an even longer-lasting effect. Although the complete duration of Shingrix’s protective efficacy is still under investigation, there is a likelihood that booster shots may be recommended to sustain and prolong immunity.

Mechanism and Potential Side Effects

The Shingrix vaccine operates on a sophisticated yet straightforward principle, employing a multi-faceted approach to fortify the body’s defences against shingles:

  • Ensured Protection: The vaccine is designed to specifically target the immune system’s memory cells, ensuring they retain the knowledge necessary to combat the virus effectively in the future.
  • Long-term Immunity: By introducing a component of the virus to the body, Shingrix facilitates the development of long-term immunity. This method triggers a robust immune response without causing the actual disease.
  • Activating Immune Response: Shingrix kickstarts the immune system by prompting it to prepare for combat against chickenpox.

While Shingrix is highly effective, minor side effects may occur post-vaccination. Most reactions are mild and transient, lasting no more than a couple days, with a full recovery expected. Common side effects experienced last 1-3 days after receiving the vaccine include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, as well as tiredness, muscle aches, headaches, and fever. Some people may also experience gastrointestinal symptoms.

Please note that serious reactions to immunisations are rare.

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Shingrix vs Zostavax

Zostavax marked a significant stride in the battle against shingles, but the introduction of Shingrix has raised the bar to a new standard. Shingrix surpasses Zostavax with an efficiency rate exceeding 90% in preventing shingles, a remarkable enhancement compared to Zostavax’s 51%. This substantial improvement enhances the dedication of healthcare providers to provide cutting-edge vaccine technology, emphasising the continuous pursuit of advancements for better prevention.

Free Shingrix

Commencing November 1st 2023, the free Shingrix vaccine is now accessible through the National Immunisation Program for people with a Medicare card, encompassing the following categories:

  • People aged 65 years and over
  • First Nations people aged 50 years and over
  • Immunocompromised people aged 18 years and over with specific medical conditions, including:
    • Solid organ transplant
    • Advanced or untreated HIV
    • Haematological malignancy
    • Haematopoietic stem cell transplant

 

It’s important to note that if you received a free Zostavax vaccine under the NIP, eligibility for a free Shingrix vaccine is deferred for at least 5 years. For those who privately purchased the Zostavax vaccine, Shingrix is available at no cost under the program if eligibility criteria are met, with a recommended 12-month interval between receiving Zostavax and Shingrix. The Shingrix vaccine can still be purchased by those who are not eligible for the free vaccine under the NIP program.

The Shingrix vaccine schedule involves two doses, spaced 2-6 months apart for healthy people and 1-2 months apart for immunocompromised people.

At Narangba Station Medical Centre, we understand the importance of protecting yourself against potential diseases. Our experienced doctors are here to help. Contact us today!

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Bookings can be made online using our easy to use booking platform with AutoMed Systems. If you prefer to speak with our team, you can call us on 07 3521 4333.

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