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Shingles Vaccine for over 65’s

The Shingles vaccine is free for over 65's and is available here at The Clinic. We’re a Werribee based GP clinic accepting new patients in the local area and beyond, so please feel welcome to book an appointment to discuss the shingles vaccine or any other health concerns you may have.

If you’d like to know more about shingles and why those over the age of 65 should consider the shingles vaccination, then read on. 

What is shingles?

Shingles is a viral infection that is caused by the reactivation of the virus responsible for chickenpox. After you’ve had chickenpox, the virus, also known as the varicella-zoster virus, remains dormant in the body. This virus can reactivate as shingles years later due to certain triggers explained below.

What causes shingles?

As mentioned above, shingles occurs in those who have had chickenpox. The virus can be reactivated as shingles years or even decades later.

Shingles triggers include:

  • Weakened immune system

  • Ageing

  • Stress

  • Certain medications

  • Medical conditions

  • And more, not all triggers are known.

I’ve had chickenpox - will I get shingles?

It’s important to note that not everyone who has had chickenpox will get shingles. However, according to The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, half of the population that lives until the age of 85 will develop shingles during their lifetime. That is a startling number so awareness around the vaccine is important to help reduce the risk of contraction and serious complications.

What are the symptoms of Shingles?

The symptoms of Shingles include:

  • Sensitive skin that may experience tingling, itching or pain.

  • Painful, blistering rash, usually on one side of the body or the face. The rash appears between 1 and 5 days after the first symptoms present.

  • Upset stomach 

  • Headache

  • Fever and chills

  • General unwell feeling

The rash usually presents as a single line of blisters, but can be widespread in those with a weakened immune system. 

When should I see a doctor?

We recommend seeing your doctor if you are experiencing the symptoms of shingles. Make sure to ring ahead and inform your GP clinic so they can take extra precautions if needed to prevent the potential transmission of chickenpox (see more information on shingles and contagion below).

Don’t delay if you have a weakened immune system or are pregnant. 

Your doctor can determine if you do have shingles and take action if needed.

Is shingles contagious?

No, you can’t catch shingles. You can, however, catch chickenpox from someone with shingles if you’ve never had chickenpox before. 

If someone you know has shingles and you’ve never had chickenpox, then It’s important to take safety precautions to minimise your risk of developing the virus. Speak with your doctor for further guidance.

Shingles treatment

Shingles can be treated with antiviral medication which is more effective the earlier it is taken, ideally within 3 days of developing symptoms. The antivirals can’t cure shingles but can reduce the severity of the symptoms. 

Shingles prevention

The best way to help reduce your risk of developing shingles is by receiving the vaccine. Receiving the vaccine doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get the virus. It does reduce the risk of developing shingles, or the severity of symptoms and risk of complications if you do.

While the vaccine is free for those aged 65 and above, The Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends the shingle vaccine for people aged 50 years or older. The handbook also recommends the vaccine for the following groups:

  • Immunocompromised, or those with a weakened immune system, that are 18 years of age and over.

  • Those ages 50 years and above who share a home with someone who is immunocompromised. 

  • immunocompromised people aged 18 years and over

Shingles vaccine for over 65's in Werribee

Shingles in over 65’s

The prevalence of shingles increases with age. As does the severity of the symptoms and risk of complications. People aged 50 years of age and older are at a greater risk of developing the following complications:

  • Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN)

  • Temporary or permanent vision loss if shingles occurred in the eye

  • Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

  • Drooping of the face

  • Bacterial infection in the rash needing antibiotics and causing potential scarring

Receiving the vaccine can help reduce the risk of developing these complications.

Shingles and Post-herpetic neuralgia

Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) mostly occurs in older adults and is the long term experience of shingles symptoms. PHN can last months and even years.

Shingles Vaccine eligibility 

The Shingrix vaccine is free for those aged 65 years and older and is available here at The Clinic.

It is also free for other groups, including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that are 50 years old and above.

  • Those aged 18 and above that are immunocompromised and have certain medical conditions

Get vaccinated at The Clinic

Book in with one of our doctors to discuss shingles and the vaccine or call us directly to speak to our friendly reception staff.

We have an extensive range of vaccinations available, including routine vaccines and travel vaccines

Call us on 03 9721 1400 or explore our website for more information or to book an appointment online.


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