Vac­cine avail­able

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

A con­tin­u­ous sup­ply of the world’s only vac­cine against the painful shin­gles in­fec­tion is now avail­able in New Zealand.

The Zostavax vac­cine has been in short sup­ply as it is com­plex to man­u­fac­ture and de­mand is high.

Shin­gles is caused by the same virus that causes chick­en­pox.

Af­ter chick­en­pox blis­ters heal, the virus that caused them stays in the body’s nerve cells. If it be­comes ac­tive again it can cause blis­ter­ing and a painful rash which usu­ally ap­pears on one side of the body.

The non-funded Zostavax vac­cine can be ad­min­is­tered to peo­ple over the age of 50 to re­duce their risk of de­vel­op­ing the in­fec­tion and its com­pli­ca­tions.

Post-her­petic neu­ral­gia, chronic pain last­ing for months and even years af­ter the rash has dis­ap­peared, is the most com­mon com­pli­ca­tion of shin­gles.

It is es­ti­mated one in three peo­ple will have shin­gles in their life­time and 50 per cent will have by the age of 80.

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