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National shingles vaccination program – free to people over 70

The government is running a National Immunisation Program to give people over 70 the shingles vaccine for free.

Shingles is a vaccine-preventable disease that particularly affects the over 70s. As a person gets older, the risk of contracting shingles increases.

A significant illness that can last for an extended period of time and cause other health complications, symptoms include a painful, blistering rash, severe nerve pain, and flu-like symptoms.

As well as the free shingles vaccination, there is a five-year catch-up program for people aged 71-79 until 31 October 2021.

To receive the immunisation, visit your local doctor or vaccination provider. It is important to note that, although the vaccine is provided at no cost, a consultation fee may apply.


Singles is caused by the rebirth of the chicken pox virus. Once a person has contracted chicken pox, the virus can lie dormant in the body for many years. Once reactivated, the infection can spread by direct contact with an exposed rash.