Decision to limit funding for zoster vaccine to people aged 65 years

OIA response

I am writing about your request, transferred from the Ministry of Health on 2 May 2022, under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to the decision to fund the zoster vaccine for the prevention of shingles ( You requested:

All information on the decision to:

  • limit the shingles vaccine to those aged 65
  • how this decision was communicated to those aged 65 and were at risk of missing out on their 66 birthday
  • what consideration was given to the 65+ people who have a weaken immune system
  • what date was your website updated with the new 65 year criterion for shingles
  • has any exemptions to the policy been granted to those 65+ since 31 December 2021.

Documents for your request attached with this response

Further to our response of 2 June 2022, I am pleased to provide you with the proposal paper to fund Zostavax (and associated appendices), submitted to the Pharmac Board in October 2017, and the related Board meeting record. The documents are attached with this response letter.

Please note that we approach our assessment of requests for information under the OIA on the basis that once we release the information to you it becomes available to any other party in that exact form (whether by you distributing it to others or by virtue of us receiving the same request from a different third party).

We have redacted a small amount of information from the documents as we consider this is necessary to:

  • protect the privacy of natural persons (section 9(2)(a));
  • protect information where the making available of the information would be likely to unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied or who is the subject of the information (section 9(2)(b)(ii));
  • protect information which is subject to an obligation of confidence or which any person has been or could be compelled to provide under the authority of any enactment, where the making available of the information would be likely to prejudice the supply of similar information, or information from the same source, and it is in the public interest that such information should continue to be supplied (section 9(2)(ba)(i));
  • maintain legal professional privilege (section 9(2)(h));
  • enable Pharmac to carry on, without prejudice or disadvantage, negotiations, including commercial negotiations (section 9(2)(j));

I acknowledge that my previous response noted we would provide the documents as soon as possible once consultation for their release was completed, and I apologise for the lengthy delay in getting these documents to you.

Our team has been impacted by several staff absences. Although ideally someone else at Pharmac should have been able to respond to your request, with relatively small staff numbers, these absences have affected our response times and services. I apologise again for providing an OIA service that, in this instance, fell below both our expectations.

Please note, you have the right to make a complaint to the Ombudsman about our response to your OIA, under section 28(3) of the OIA. Details of  how to make a complaint(external link) are on the Ombudsman’s website.

We are making our information more freely available, so we now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.