When They Start How Long They Last
The shingles vaccine is given in a two-shot series. You may experience side effects after the first, second, or both shots. Most of the time, these symptoms are mild and occur immediately following vaccination. They typically only last for two or three days.
Side effects of the shingles vaccine are more common in younger people, and might interrupt your normal daily activities for a few days.
This may seem like a downside of the shingles vaccine, but remember that these symptoms are a result of the creation of a strong shingles defense within your body.
It is OK to take Tylenol or Advil after a shingles vaccine to relieve symptoms. Rest and plenty of fluids may help, too.
Who Can Give The Vaccine
There is not much you need to do to prepare to get a shingles vaccine. You dont even necessarily need an appointment.
A doctor can schedule a time to give you the vaccine, but licensed pharmacists are also allowed to administer it. Some pharmacies offer shingles vaccines on a walk-in basis. Check with your healthcare professional or pharmacy to be sure.
Whether youve made an appointment or walked into a pharmacy for vaccination, the next steps are simple.
What Are Risk Factors For Shingles
Shingles can only occur in individuals who have previously been exposed to the varicella-zoster virus. Risk factors for the development of shingles include the following:
- Increasing age: Though shingles can rarely occur in children, it is much more common in older adults, with the incidence increasing with age. This is thought to be in large part due to waning immunity as people age. Approximately 50% of all cases of shingles occur in adults 60 years of age or older.
- Weakened immune system: Individuals with impaired immune systems have a higher probability of developing shingles. This can be seen in diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS, or in individuals taking certain medications. Patients taking steroids or other immunosuppressive medications, such as people who have undergone organ transplants, and individuals with certain autoimmune diseases are at increased risk for developing shingles.
- Psychological and emotional stressors are also thought to possibly contribute to the development of shingles, perhaps from the detrimental effects of stress on the immune system and the person’s health.
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What Are The Side Effects
Shingrix can make the area where you get the shot swell or feel sore. Other effects include:
- Many people who get the vaccine have muscle aches, headaches, or feel tired.
- About 1 in 4 people have a fever or an upset stomach.
Younger people are more likely to have these side effects, and they typically last 2 or 3 days.
Itâs also possible to have an allergic reaction to an ingredient in the vaccine. If you have problems breathing, feel your face or throat swelling, or feel weak or dizzy after the shot, call 911 and get medical help right away.
A Look At Each Vaccine: Shingles Vaccine
View the full-size infographic. A shingles vaccine is available for adults 50 years of age and older in the United States. The vaccine prevents much of the pain and suffering caused by shingles when the virus that causes chickenpox reawakens in those with aging or compromised immune systems.
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Why Do We Need A Shingles Shot
As you might remember from your childhood, the rash from chickenpox is itchy but usually doesnt hurt. In most cases, chickenpox is a mild illness that doesnt cause long-term problems.
After you got over a case of chickenpox, the virus stays in your body but goes dormant, meaning its not active. However, it can reactivate later in your life. If it does, youll get shingles.
Unlike chickenpox, a shingles rash can be extremely painful. Fever, headache, fatigue, and sensitivity to light are also common shingles symptoms.
There are also potentially serious health consequences of the infection. For example, if you get a shingles rash close to your eye, it can affect your vision and potentially cause blindness.A case of shingles generally lasts between two and six weeks. The pain usually goes away when the rash does, but some people have pain that lingers for months or even years .
Shingles can be treated with antiviral medications such as acyclovir or valacyclovir, which reduce the length of the outbreak. However, anyone who has had shingles will likely tell you to do whatever you can to avoid getting it in the first place. Thats where Shingrix comes in.
What Can Be Done For Recurrent Shingles
Though most people will experience only one episode of shingles during their lifetime, recurrence can occur in certain individuals. In order to help prevent recurrent episodes of shingles, individuals with no contraindications can receive the zoster vaccine , which can prevent recurrent episodes of shingles. Otherwise, people who do experience a recurrent case of shingles should see their doctor as soon as the rash appears to promptly receive antiviral medication.
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Medicare Will Cover Shingles Vaccine In 2023
Starting in January 2023, Medicare will cover the cost of the shingles vaccine, Shingrix.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix two to six months apart to prevent complications from the disease shingles. Shingrix is more than 90 percent effective in preventing illness, according to the CDC. But for many people on Medicare, it had been unaffordable at more than $200 for the shot regimen.
The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 aims to reduce the cost of some drugs and close this barrier to good healthcare. As of January 2023, all vaccinations covered under Medicare part D that are approved and recommended by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and the CDC will be covered without a copay. So, no cost-sharing will be associated with the administration of Shingrix, as well as flu shots tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines.
What is shingles?
Shingles is an invasive, painful outbreak of rash or blisters on the skin that can damage your vision or hearing, make you lose hair, and cause long-term nerve pain. It is caused by the varicella-zoster virusthe same virus that erupts in chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the virus stays in your body. It may not result in problems for many years, but as you get older, the virus may reappear as shingles.
Is shingles contagious?
Who is at risk for shingles?
What are the symptoms of shingles?
How is shingles diagnosed?
What Vaccines Can Help Prevent Shingles
There is currently one vaccine available in the U.S. to prevent shingles. Shingrix was approved in 2017 and it is more than 90% effective in preventing shingles. With Shingrix, you get two shots between 2 and 6 months apart and protection lasts an estimated 4-5 years. Doctors recommend it for healthy people over 50 as well as those 19 years of age and older who are or will be immunodeficient or immunosuppressed due to disease or therapy..
An earlier vaccine called Zostavax was removed from the market in 2020. That vaccine used a weak form of the chickenpox virus to send your bodyâs immune system into action to fight the disease. Shingrix does not. If you received the Zostavax vaccine, it is recommended that you also receive Shingrix.
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Complications Of Shingles: Ramsay Hunt Syndrome & Bacterial Skin Infection
- Ramsay Hunt syndrome: If shingles affect the nerves of the face, this uncommon complication can lead to facial muscle paralysis, and the characteristic rash can affect the ear and the ear canal, and rarely the mouth. Symptoms may include ear pain, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and dizziness. Though most people recover fully with treatment, some individuals may have permanent facial weakness and/or hearing loss.
- Bacterial skin infection: A secondary bacterial infection of the skin blisters can sometimes develop, leading to cellulitis or impetigo. These skin infections may be characterized by increasing redness, tenderness, and warmth in and around the area of the rash. Most of these bacterial skin infections are caused by either Staphylococcus aureus or group A Streptococcus bacteria. These bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.
What Are The Risks Of Shingles
About one in five people who get shingles will have severe pain after the rash goes away. This pain can last months or even years. This pain is known as post-herpetic neuralgia.
Rare complications of shingles include scarring, pneumonia, loss of hearing or vision, swelling of the brain and bacterial superinfections of the rash.
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When Should You Get Vaccinated Against Shingles
Most people should be vaccinated against shingles at ages 50 and over. People ages 18 and over who have health conditions or take medications that can weaken the immune system should consider getting the shingles vaccine before age 50.
For people receiving the vaccine at ages 50 and over, there is no particular time and no maximum age when you should be vaccinated.
Vaccination against shingles can be done on its own or alongside other vaccinations, like for the flu or pneumonia. Generally, the vaccine is given in two doses, with the second dose given 2 to 6 months after the first dose.
For people who are receiving the shingles vaccine because of an immune deficiency, the second dose can be given sooner: 1 to 2 months after the first dose.
In this case, if possible, shingles vaccination should be timed with your immune response. This could mean waiting until after a flare-up of your condition has subsided or getting the vaccine before you receive certain immune-suppressing medications.
7 years and remains effective afterward.
Speak with a doctor about how often you should be vaccinated for shingles based on your specific immune system and health concerns.
The shingles vaccine that is currently available in the United States was introduced in 2017, so you may have questions about it. Below are answers to some of the most common questions.
Are There Any Reasons I Shouldn’t Have The Shingles Vaccine
You shouldn’t have the shingles vaccine if:
- you’ve had a severe reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine
- you’ve had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the chickenpox vaccine
If you don’t have a severely weakened immune system, the shingles vaccine you’ll be offered contains a small trace of pork gelatine.
Gelatine is a common and essential ingredient in many medicines, including some vaccines.
Many faith groups, including Muslim and Jewish communities, have approved the use of gelatine-containing vaccines. It is, however, an individual choice whether or not to receive the shingles vaccine.
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How Do Inactivated Viral Vaccines Work
Inactivated viralvaccines are sterile biologic products that provide immunity against viral infections. Inactivated viral vaccines work by stimulating the bodys immune system to produce antibodies against specific types of viruses, and protect a person from becoming infected when exposed to these viruses.
In the case of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes respiratory illness and has led to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines do not entirely prevent infection but protect vaccinated individuals from serious illness and hospitalization from the disease.
Inactivated viral vaccines contain particles of proteins or genetic material from viruses. Inactivated viral vaccines may also contain substances that preserve and stabilize the vaccine, and enhance immune response. Some viral vaccines are delivered in inactivated harmless viruses such as human adenovirus.
Inactivated viral vaccines may be made from:
- Surface proteins of the viruses enable the virus to hold on to a human cell, enter inside and replicate.
- Modified RNA particles from the virus can enter host cells and induce the production of viral antigen, which stimulates an immune response from the body.
- Recombined DNA material from multiple strains and subtypes of viruses, killed to eliminate disease-causing capability.
Currently, inactivated viral vaccines approved by the FDA protect against viral infectious diseases that include:
- Coronavirus disease , caused by SARS-Cov-2 virus
A Closer Look At The Safety Data
Both Shingrix and Zostavax shingles vaccines have been shown to be safe and well tolerated. Common side effects, such as soreness and redness at the injection site, are usually mild to moderate in intensity and resolve quickly on their own.
In 8 clinical trials of more than 10,000 participants:
- Grade 3 reactions were common after patients received Shingrix.
- About 1 out of 10 adults who received Shingrix reported grade 3 injection-site symptoms such as pain, redness, and swelling.
- About 1 out of 10 reported grade 3 systemic reactions such as myalgia , fatigue , headache, shivering, fever, and gastrointestinal illness.
- Most people who got Shingrix reported at least some pain at the injection site.
- A 2013 study showed that patients with a history of a previous shingles rash had the same side effects after Zostavax as those with no history of shingles. See Safety of zoster vaccine in elderly adults following documented herpes zoster.
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How Shingles Vaccine Is Given
- Before you are given this treatment, ask to read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the vaccine and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from having it.
- You will be given one dose of the vaccine by your doctor or nurse. It will be injected just underneath your skin or into a muscle, usually in your upper arm.
More Information On Side Effects
Reactions listed under possible side effects or adverse events on vaccine product information sheets may not all be directly linked to the vaccine. See Vaccine side effects and adverse reactions for more information on why this is the case.
If you are concerned about any reactions that occur after vaccination, consult your doctor. In the UK you can report suspected vaccine side effects to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency through the Yellow Card Scheme . See more information on the Yellow Card scheme and monitoring of vaccine safety.
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Itchy Skin Near The Injection Site
Itchy skin, also called pruritus, can potentially occur near the injection site after receiving Shingrix. Itching, swelling, and redness arent usually a huge cause for concern, as they often occur together as a localized reaction.
Applying Benadryl gel or hydrocortisone cream around the injection area can help reduce itchy, swollen, or red skin. If the itching worsens or spreads away from the injection site, get in touch with your doctor.
A New Shingles Vaccine
- U.S. News & World Report
If youre 50 or older, you’re advised to get immunized to protect yourself from shingles. If the new shingles vaccine made you feel worse than you expected, you’re not alone. Skin rash, joint pain, flu-like symptoms, headaches and fatigue are some complaints from patients who’ve had the recently approved Shingrix vaccine. Side effects can last two or three days, and the injection site in the upper arm can hurt. “Part of the problem is that health care providers may not have fully understood the instructions of administration,” said Talia Swartz, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Providers can refer to the website of Shingrix manufacturer GSK for complete administration instructions for this relatively unfamiliar vaccine, Dr. Swartz suggested. “As providers are more comfortable with it, I believe the administration errors would be expected to be reduced,” she said.
– Talia Swartz, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
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Redness At Injection Site
Redness at and around the injection site is common and may appear immediately or some days after receiving Shingrix. This redness commonly develops due to a localized immune system response, which shouldnt cause further concern.
Arm redness should disappear within a few days after receiving the vaccine. However, if you experience redness with a rash or severe pain, let your doctor know as soon as possible.
Should I Get A Vaccine
Doctors say most healthy people over 50 should get Shingrix, as well as anyone 19 or older who are immunocompromised. Itâs available at pharmacies as well as doctorsâ offices. Most people have been exposed to the chickenpox even if they didnât actually develop symptoms.
You should get the Shingrix vaccine unless:
- You are allergic to any part of the vaccine
- Had a blood test that proves you never had chicken pox
- Have shingles now
- Are breastfeeding or nursing.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Shingles
The most common symptoms are pain, itching or tingling of the skin. This is followed by a painful rash with blisters. The rash is usually only on a small area on one side of the body. Other early symptoms can include headache, fever, chills and nausea. The rash from shingles usually lasts two to four weeks.