Many older Australians are missing out on Shingles vaccination

17 February 2020

The article notes that only about a third of 70-year-olds are recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) as having had the free vaccination against this relatively common disease. 

Zostavax® is free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for all people aged 70 years, and those between 71 and 79 years as a time-limited catch-up program. The article suggests vaccine coverage recorded in the AIR likely underestimates true coverage because of underreporting.

NCIRS Research Fellow and lead author Dr Sanjay Jayasinghe highlighted that it is important for GPs to offer the vaccine to eligible patients and then report this to the AIR. Dr Jayasinghe suggested that “when patients come for their flu vaccine, it might be a good opportunity to see if they have also been administered Zostavax”.

The online Australian Immunisation Handbook has information about shingles disease (herpes zoster), vaccines and recommendations for vaccination to assist providers.

pre-vaccination checklisthas been developed by the Department of Health to assist immunisation providers in screening for contraindications to shingles vaccination.

Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)

Vaccination providers should report to the AIR all vaccinations given to patients. Adult vaccinations should be reported to the AIR including Zostavax®, Pneumovax23®Boostrix® and flu vaccine. If your practice software does not automatically report vaccinations to the AIR, you will need to report these vaccinations directly using the online AIR website. 

Immunisation providers have access to AIR via PRODA (Provider Digital Access). 

PRODA

Immunisation providers who do not yet have a PRODA account, please see information sheet: How to register for a PRODA account.From 30 June 2020 online access to AIR will only be available via PRODA.

For assistance, contact the Immunisation Team at CESPHN on 1300 986 991 (option 4).