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Important update for immunisation providers
Zostavax (shingles vaccine) and individuals who are immunocompromised
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has received a report of a death occurring in a patient with compromised immunise functioning following administration of Zostavax (http://www.tga.gov.au/alert/zostavax-vaccine).
Zostavax is contraindicated in patients who are immunocompromised.
Zostavax contains live attenuated varicella-zoster virus, containing 14 times more virus than childhood varicella vaccines. Administration to people who are immunocompromised is associated with risk of a disseminated disease from the vaccine virus.
- You should carefully consider a patient’s immunological status prior to vaccination with Zostavax.
- Do not administer Zostavax to patients who are immunocompromised.
- If in doubt seek advice from a specialist or state based vaccination services.
- Urgently seek specialist advice if Zostavax is given to a person who is immunocompromised.
- Commonwealth Department of Health statement on Zostavax and individuals who are immunocompromised (www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/clinical-updates-and-news)
- Note that state and territory health departments have also issued statements which are available on their websites.
- The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th edition (online) Chapters 3.3.3 and 4.24. (http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home).
- National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance fact sheets:
Further updates will be provided on the Immunise Australia website as required (www.immunise.health.gov.au).