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Shingrix Vaccine

Generic name: zoster vaccine (inactivated)ZOS-ter-VAX-een ]
Drug class: Viral vaccines

Medically reviewed by Judith Stewart, BPharm. Last updated on Feb 10, 2022.

What is Shingrix?

Shingrix is a vaccine used for the prevention of herpes zoster. Herpes zoster is caused by the same virus (varicella) that causes chickenpox in children. When this virus becomes active again, it can cause herpes zoster, or shingles. Shingrix helps prevent shingles.

Shingrix works by exposing you to a small dose of inactive virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Shingrix is used to prevent herpes zoster virus (shingles):

  • in people age 50 and older, including people who previously received a live zoster vaccine (Zostavax); and

  • in people 18 years and older at increased risk of herpes zoster virus (shingles) due due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression caused by known disease or therapy.

Shingrix will not treat chickenpox, shingles, or nerve pain caused by shingles (post-herpetic neuralgia).

Warnings

You should not receive Shingrix if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to inactivated zoster virus vaccine.

You should not receive the second shot if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a zoster vaccinea after the first shot.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any vaccine.

It is not known whether zoster vaccine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

It may not be safe to breast-feed a baby shortly after you receive Shingrix. Ask your doctor about any risks.

Before taking this medicine

You should not receive Shingrix if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to inactivated zoster virus vaccine.

Tell your doctor if:

  • you have ever had an allergic reaction to any vaccine; or

  • you have fainted after receiving an injection.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How is Shingrix given?

Shingrix is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Shingrix is usually given in a series of 2 shots:

  • the second shot may be given any time within 2 to 6 months after the first shot.

  • for people who have a weak immune system, the second shot may be given any time within 1 to 2 months after the first shot.

You may receive this vaccine at the same time that you get a flu shot.

Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Varicella-Zoster -- Prophylaxis:

0.5 mL intramuscularly
-Administer two doses, with the second dose given 2 to 6 months after the first dose.

Comments: -This drug is not indicated for prevention of primary varicella infection (chickenpox).

Uses: - Prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) in:
-Adults aged 50 years and older
-Adults aged 18 years and older at increased risk of herpes zoster (HZ) due to immunodeficiency or immunosuppression from disease or therapy

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor if you miss the second dose or if you get behind schedule. You must receive all recommended doses of Shingrix to be fully protected against disease.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of Shingrix is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after receiving Shingrix?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Shingrix side effects

You should not receive the second shot if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving Shingrix. When you receive the second shot, tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with shingles is much more dangerous to your health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, Shingrix can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Shingrix: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Some people receiving Shingrix had nervous system problems within 42 days of receiving this vaccine, but the risk of this side effect is very low. Seek medical attention right away if you have:

  • weakness or tingling;

  • trouble speaking or swallowing;

  • problems with balance or eye movement; or

  • loss of bladder or bowel control.

Call your doctor at once if you have a high fever.

Common Shingrix side effects include:

  • headache, muscle pain;

  • feeling tired;

  • stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

  • fever, shivering; or

  • pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What other drugs will affect Shingrix?

Other drugs may interact with zoster vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

Popular FAQ

Shingrix is more effective at preventing shingles than Zostavax (overall, 97.2% vs. 51%, respectively). Shingrix is especially effective in patients over 80 years of age. Zostavax is no longer available on the US market. Continue reading

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Shingrix only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.