Shingles vaccination programme for people aged 65

OIA response

Thank you for your request under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA), which was transferred from the Ministry of Health to Pharmac on 15 December 2023. You requested:

“When was the free shingles vaccination (Shingrix) programme for people aged 65 introduced?”

Zostavax was originally funded as the shingles vaccine from 1 April 2018 for people aged 65 years, with a 2-year catch up programme for people aged between 66 and 80 years inclusive. This catch-up programme was extended until 31 December 2021.

In July 2022, Pharmac was notified that the Zostavax shingles vaccine was being discontinued by the supplier. We secured a short-term supply of Shringrix as an alternative vaccine for the prevention of shingles. Shingrix was listed in the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 August 2022.

Following consultation, Shingrix was confirmed as the fully funded shingles vaccine for people aged 65 from 1 December 2022. Two doses of Shingrix are required, given 6 months apart. As long as the person being vaccinated is 65 when they receive their first dose, both doses will be funded. Please note that anyone older or younger than 65 years can purchase the vaccine privately.

We trust that this information answers your queries. 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.

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