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A novel analysis of MedicineInsight primary care data conducted by researchers at NCIRS along with co-authors has found no new safety concerns following vaccination with live attenuated herpes zoster vaccine (shingles vaccine or Zostavax).
Herpes zoster (shingles) is a painful skin rash that results from reactivation of varicella-zoster virus (chicken pox). The incidence increases with age and immunosuppressed people are at risk of severe disease. In November 2016, Australia funded shingles vaccine under the National Immunisation Program for adults aged 70 years, with catch-up for those aged 71–79 years funded until October 2021. Vaccines in this age group are mainly delivered through general practice settings.
It is the first time that the primary care data from MedicineInsight has been analysed using the self-controlled case series (SCCS) method to assess vaccine safety. An expected increase in injection site reactions was found, supporting the validity of the design, with no new safety concerns identified. Linkage to hospitalisation data could make primary care data a richer source of information.
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