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.

Action

  • 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. 

Further information

Further updates will be provided on the Immunise Australia website as required (www.immunise.health.gov.au).