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New Zealand’s wait for scarce shingles vaccine is over

New Zealand’s wait for scarce shingles vaccine is over

ZOSTAVAX™ (Zoster Vaccine Live) has arrived in NZ

Auckland. February 17, 2014 – After a prolonged wait, New Zealand has secured a continuous supply of the world’s first and only vaccine against the painful and debilitating shingles infection, which affects up to 1 in 3 people during their lives.

A new shipment of this scarce vaccine, ZOSTAVAX, has arrived and can be administered by doctors now. The vaccine has been in short supply because it is complex to manufacture and demand is high. Until recently it was primarily available only in the US but in 2013 ZOSTAVAX was added to the National Immunisation Programme in the United Kingdom, where the vaccine is funded for older adults.

“This shipment launches MSD’s long-term programme for ZOSTAVAX. We are taking orders now and anticipate being able to meet the expected demand,” comments Paul Smith, New Zealand Director, MSD.

“Anyone who has ever had chickenpox is at risk of contracting shingles, and the risk and severity of this disease increases sharply from 50 years of age. Chronic pain is the most common complication of shingles and this can last for months, even years.3 Consequently, the impact on shingles sufferers can be devastating, affecting all aspects of their home and work lives. The introduction of this vaccine will now provide a new option to help prevent this debilitating disease.”

In New Zealand, ZOSTAVAX can be administered to individuals that are 50 years or older to reduce the risk of developing shingles and its associated acute and chronic pain. ZOSTAVAX® is a non-funded prescription medicine therefore patient charges will apply for the single dose needed. More information can be found at

ZOSTAVAX (Zoster Vaccine Live) recently received the Prix Galien 2013 Award for Best Biotechnology Product, specifically for “excellence in scientific innovation to improve the state of human health”. The Prix Galien Award recognises outstanding achievement in the development of new medicines.

About MSD
Today's MSD is working to help the world be well. Through our medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching programs that donate and deliver our products to the people who need them. MSD. Be Well. For more information, visit:

About the Galien Foundation

The Galien Foundation fosters, recognises and rewards excellence in scientific innovation to improve the state of human health. Its vision is to be the catalyst for the development of the next generation of innovative treatment and technologies that will impact human health and save lives.

The Foundation oversees and directs activities in the USA for the Prix Galien, an international award that recognizes outstanding achievements in improving the human condition through the development of innovative therapies. The Prix Galien was created in 1970 in honour of Galen, the father of medical science and modern pharmacology. Worldwide, the Prix Galien is regarded as the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in biopharmaceutical research.


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