ZOSTAVAX (zoster vaccine live (Oka/Merck))

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IMPORTANT NEWS!

If you’re aged 65-80 the Shingles vaccine, Zostavax, is now free.
ZOSTAVAX is FREE for people aged 65-80. This is great news because shingles can be a painful and debilitating disease.

AROUND 1 IN 3 PEOPLE WILL GET SHINGLES IN THEIR LIFETIME
Shingles is unpredictable; it can strike at any time but we cannot predict who will get it, how painful it will be or how long the pain will last. But we do know that two thirds of Shingles sufferers are 50 years or older and the risk of developing Shingles increases as you age and the symptoms can be more severe.

But, there is a way to help prevent Shingles. ZOSTAVAX, the Shingles vaccine, is a single dose vaccine that can help reduce your risk of Shingles, and its associated pain. So if you’re 50 years plus ask your doctor about ZOSTAVAX. If you’re aged 65-80 ZOSTAVAX is free, otherwise a charge will apply.

WHAT IS SHINGLES?
Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After your chickenpox blisters heal, the virus that caused them stays in your body, lying dormant in nerve cells. When we are young our immune system is usually strong enough to keep the virus in check, but as we get older it becomes easier for the virus to break through our body’s defences, resulting in Shingles.

SYMPTOMS OF SHINGLES
Shingles can appear as a painful, blistering rash, that can last weeks. The rash forms where the nerves from the spinal cord connect with the skin. This area is called a dermatome. Usually the rash will appear along a dermatome located on one side of the body. Because the nerves along the path become inflamed, Shingles can be very painful. Pain that lasts after the rash has healed is called post herpetic neuralgia (PHN). As you get older the risk of developing PHN increases. Patients have described PHN as burning, throbbing, stabbing or shooting pain. This pain can last months, even years.

ZOSTAVAX – THE SHINGLES VACCINE
ZOSTAVAX is a vaccine to help protect you against Shingles and its associated acute and chronic pain. You must be 50 years or older to be vaccinated with ZOSTAVAX.

HOW TO GET ZOSTAVAX
ZOSTAVAX is available from your doctor. Ask if you can get ZOSTAVAX at the same time as the flu vaccine.

 

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Supporting references available on request.

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE USING ZOSTAVAX (Zoster Vaccine Live, Oka/Merck)

19,400 PFU as 0.65 mL vial for injection: ZOSTAVAX is used in adults 50 years of age and over to help prevent shingles and associated pain. ZOSTAVAX should not be used in people who have a weakened immune system as a result of disease, medicine or other treatment. Common side effects are: headache, localised injection site reactions and pain in the arm or leg.  All medicines have risks and benefits and the protective effect of vaccines can vary from person to person. Consult your health professional to see if ZOSTAVAX is right for you. If you have side effects, see your health professional. For additional product information, consult the Consumer Medicine Information, available on request from 0800 500 673 or refer to the Medsafe website www.medsafe.govt.nz. ZOSTAVAX is a prescription only medicine, fully funded for people aged 65-80 years, otherwise a charge will apply. Ask your health professional the cost of the vaccine and any other medical fees that may apply. Based on data sheet prepared 16/08/2018. Supplied by: Merck Sharp & Dohme (NZ) Limited, Newmarket, Auckland.

NZ-CIN-00012. First issued March 2019. TAPS NA10842