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News & Trends - Biotechnology

Seqirus welcomes National Immunisation Program catch-up extension for shingles vaccine

Health Industry Hub | October 18, 2021 |
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Biotech News: Australians aged 70-79 will continue to be able to access a funded shingles vaccine, with the Australian Government extending access to the ZOSTAVAX via the National Immunisation Program (NIP) catch-up. Originally offered for five years until the end of October 2021, this has been extended to 31 October 2023.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said “Since November 2016, our Government has invested over $300 million to ensure older Australians can continue to access this life changing vaccine,” Minister Hunt said.

“To date, more than 1.2 million Australians aged 70-79 have received a free shingles vaccine as part of this program and we want to provide assurance that the vaccine will continue to be free for another two years. The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions have meant that many Australians have not been able to access a Zostavax vaccine, and this extension will ensure they need not miss out.”

Dr Jonathan Anderson, Seqirus Head of Medical Affairs, International Region, said “1 in 3 adults may develop shingles in their lifetime, and the risk of developing shingles and related complications particularly increases over the age of 70. Strategies such as social distancing may not help reduce the risk of shingles as up to 97% of Australian adults carry the virus which can lead to shingles,” said Dr Anderson.

“An estimated 120,000 Australians develop shingles each year, so investment in prevention options is an important public health initiative. Helping to keep our seniors healthy and active members of their communities by reducing the burden of shingles is a very important and worthwhile undertaking.”

Seqirus Head of Commercial Australia and New Zealand, Dani Dowell, said that the announcement was welcome news for those who may have missed out on their shingles vaccination previously.

“The National Immunisation Program is a world-leading initiative and this further investment in the shingles vaccination program is welcome recognition of the serious impact this illness can have, often with significant detriment to the quality of life of otherwise healthy people,” said Ms Dowell.

“Seqirus welcomes the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to continued investment in the National Immunisation Program and we are proud to continue our partnership for the supply of shingles vaccines.”


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