Some people report a chickenpox-like rash after getting the shingles vaccine.
Although some people will develop shingles despite vaccination, the vaccine may reduce the severity and duration of it.
Talk to your health care provider about your vaccination options if you:
- Have ever had an allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin or any other component of the shingles vaccine
- Have a weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system
- Are receiving immune system-suppressing drugs or treatments, such as steroids, adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), etanercept (Enbrel), radiation or chemotherapy
- Have cancer that affects the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma
- Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant
Zostavax has been shown to offer protection against shingles for about five years. Although Zostavax is approved for people age 50 and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that Zostavax be given at age 60, when the risk of shingles and its complications is highest. While Zostavax is no longer being sold in the U.S. as of July 2020, other countries may still use it.
Studies suggest protection against shingles with Shingrix may extend beyond five years. Shingrix is approved and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people age 50 and older, including those who’ve previously received Zostavax.
The cost of the shingles vaccine may not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid or insurance. Check your plan.