Herpes Zoster

About the Vaccine:

Shingles is not life-threatening but can be painful and lead to long-term problems, especially in older adults. The shingles vaccine is the only way to protect yourself from the disease.


There are two vaccines available in the U.S.–Shingrix and Zostavax. Of the two, Shingrix is the preferred vaccine and is recommended for all adults over 50, even if you’ve received a previous dose of a different shingles vaccine. It is more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is long-term nerve pain.

Who should get the vaccine:

  • Adults (50+)
  • Seniors

High-risk populations:

The risk of getting shingles and developing persistent complications increases with age.

Schedule information:

  • Adults over the age of 50 should receive 2 doses of Shingrix, 2-6 months apart.

You should get the new vaccine (Shingrix) even if you received the previous version (Zostavax) or already had shingles.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Safety & side effects:

Just as with any medication, there are potential side effects to vaccines. Talk to your health care provider about specific side effects associated with this vaccine and learn more about vaccine safety and common side effects.

Pregnancy considerations:

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should wait to receive Shingrix.

You can get shingles more than once in your lifetime.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About Shingles

Shingles is an infection caused by a virus that often results in a painful rash most commonly along one side of the torso. Blisters caused by the rash scab over in 7-10 days and go away in 2-4 months, but some people experience a complication known as PHN for months or even years after the rash clears. Although not life-threatening, the condition can be extremely painful and persistent.


Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, which is spread by close contact with an infected person. The virus remains dormant in nerve tissue around the brain and spinal cord until it reactivates as shingles years later. As a person ages, his or her risk of getting shingles and PHN increases.

1 million people a year get shingles in the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


The most common symptom of shingles is a rash that forms a stripe of painful blisters around one side of the torso or face. The area around the rash often develops an intense burning sensation accompanied by itching and sensitivity. Shingles affecting the face can result in vision loss in some cases. Additional potential symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Light sensitivity
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Upset stomach

The risk of complications associated with shingles increases as you age.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention