Shingles vaccine: Shingrix will be the new funded brand
Zostavax shingles vaccine is being discontinued. We are pleased to have secured an alternative brand of the zoster vaccine, Shingrix.
Why is this happening?
The supplier of the currently funded Zostavax brand vaccine has advised us that it has discontinued the supply of this product. Once all of the stock is exhausted, Pharmac will fund the Shingrix vaccine for people who are 65 years old.
When will Shingrix be available?
Both brands were listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 August 2022, but the Shingrix vaccine will only be made available for funded patients once all stock of Zostavax has been used. We expect this to be in August or September 2022.
Immunisation providers should continue to use their current stock of Zostavax and continue to order Zostavax until it is no longer available from the Regional Vaccine Store. Zostavax will continue to be listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule for several months so that providers can use up all Zostavax stock they have on hand.
Like Zostavax, people who are 65 years of age are eligible for a funded course of Shingrix vaccine. Shingrix requires two doses given 6 months apart. As long as the person being vaccinated is 65 when they receive their first dose, both doses will be funded.
Pharmac first funded the zoster vaccine for shingles prevention (Zostavax) from 1 April 2018. This included an initial 2-year catch up programme for those aged from 66 to 80. The catch up programme was extended twice and ran until 1 December 2021.
We continue to assess wider funding of Shingrix. Our clinical advisors have recommended funding the Shingrix vaccine for a range of additional patient groups, including:
- people from 50 to 64 years of age
- people over 65 years of age who have received Zostavax at least 5 years previously
- Māori and Pacific peoples 60 years of age and over.
The proposals for people from 50 to 54 years of age and people over 65 years of age who have previously received Zostavax are on our options for investment list. We would like to fund these proposals when we have available budget. We are still assessing the proposal for Māori and Pacific peoples 60 years of age and over.
We are also assessing and seeking further clinical advice about other groups that may benefit from Shingrix, including:
- people 18 years of age and over who are at risk of shingles because their immune system has reduced function
- people over 65 years of age who missed their zoster vaccination at 65 years of age while access to immunisation services or health case was reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic
- people over 65 years of age who are immunosuppressed and could not be vaccinated with Zostavax when they were 65 years of age.
More information about the assessment of funding for these groups, including links to the relevant clinical advice, can be found on the Application Tracker(external link).
Who to contact
If you have any questions about the funding of these vaccines, email firstname.lastname@example.org