Who is eligible for the shingles vaccine?


Everyone ages 50+ and 19+ with a weakened immune system is eligible for the Shingrix vaccine, including people who previously received the one-dose shingles vaccine, Zostavax.

Shingrix is a two-dose vaccine that reduces the risk of shingles by more than 90%.

Who should get Shingrix?

People ages 50+ should get two doses of Shingrix.

People ages 19 years and over who also have a higher risk of getting shingles because of a weak immune system can also get two doses of the vaccine. They can get the second dose 1-2 months after the first dose.

CDC recommends that those who received the single-dose Zostavax in the past should get Shingrix, which is more effective.

People who are eligible and have already had shingles should get the vaccine to prevent them from getting it again. There is no minimum waiting period after you get shingles – you only need to be sure that the rashes are completely gone before getting the vaccine. And, if you have any other moderate or severe illness, it is best to wait until you have recovered to get vaccinated.

CDC recommends that people who are pregnant wait to get the vaccine. We found conflicting guidance across CDC pages about whether people who are nursing should get Shingrix or wait. Our advice is to speak to your clinician about this vaccination if you’re nursing and otherwise eligible.

Shingrix strengthens your immune system to provide protection against shingles and long-term nerve pain, its most common complication. The two doses are usually given 2-6 months apart. To get maximum protection, it is important to get both shots. Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles in most adults – that is, reducing the chance of getting shingles from 1 in 3 to 1 in 60. The effect is slightly lower for people with weakened immune systems. The protection stays at this level for at least 7 years.

Symptoms of shingles include rashes and blisters, pain, itching, chills, fever, and headache. Medicines can help lessen some of these symptoms. Shingles usually lasts 3-5 weeks, and it’s possible to get it more than once. Although shingles itself is not contagious, it’s possible for someone with shingles to give another person chickenpox.

Comparatively, the side effects of the Shingrix vaccine are mild.

So protect yourself and get Shingrix if you are above 50 years or speak with your clinician about getting the vaccine if you are younger and you are immunocompromised.

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