The People's Perspective on Medicine

Shingrix: Should You or Shouldn’t You? A Pharmacist’s Thoughts

The new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, has some advantages over previous vaccines. Learn about costs and side effects so you can balance benefits and risks.

Currently, in community/retail pharmacy, there is a large focus on immunizations. Especially in the fall months, much time is spent on vaccinating patients against influenza (flu) and pneumonia. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the new shingles/zoster vaccine, Shingrix. Many patients are concerned about side effects and the issues of vaccine availability.

What Is Shingles?

First, let’s learn a little about shingles, which is what the vaccine prevents. This website provides an informative overview and slideshow (

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you have had chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in nerve tissue, close to your spinal cord and brain. Years later, the virus may come back as shingles. Shingles infection can cause a very painful rash. Shingles may occur anywhere on your body, but often appears as a row of blisters wrapping around your torso.

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain/burning/numbness/tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Red rash
  • Fluid-filled blisters that open and crust over
  • Itching

More serious symptoms may include: fever, headache, sensitivity to light, and fatigue.

Pain, which may be very intense, may occur with or without the rash. It is important to see your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms, for evaluation and treatment. If you do have shingles, your doctor will prescribe an antiviral medication, such as valacyclovir (Valtrex) or acyclovir (Zovirax). An antiviral can help speed healing and reduce complications. Shingles usually lasts for two to six weeks, and may reoccur.

Who Gets Shingles?

In addition to having had chickenpox as a child, other risk factors for shingles include: age greater than 50, having certain diseases that weaken your immune system (such as HIV/AIDS or cancer), undergoing radiation or chemotherapy, and taking certain medications for prevention of rejection in transplant patients, or prolonged use of steroids such as prednisone.

If you have shingles, you are contagious and can spread the virus to anyone who is not immune to chickenpox (although you have shingles, if you pass the virus to that person it will show up as chickenpox, not shingles). Until your blisters scab off, you should avoid physical contact with anyone who has not been vaccinated for chickenpox, pregnant women, newborns, or anyone with a weakened immune system.

Complications of Shingles:

Not only can shingles cause a rash and pain, but the following serious complications may also occur:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN): For some people, the pain of shingles continues for a very long time, even after all of the rash/blisters are gone. Because your nerve fibers are damaged, exaggerated messages of pain are sent from your skin to your brain.
  • Vision loss: Shingles in your eye or around your eye can lead to very painful eye infections which may cause loss of vision/blindness.
  • Neurological problems: Depending on the affected nerves, shingles can cause brain inflammation, facial paralysis, or problems with hearing and/or balance.
  • Skin Infections: Bacterial skin infections may develop.
  • If you have never had chickenpox (varicella), it is a good idea to ask your doctor if you should receive the Varicella vaccine along with the Shingrix. If you have already had shingles, you can still receive the Shingrix vaccine, because you can get shingles more than once. Be sure to wait until the blisters are healed before receiving the Shingrix vaccine. Also, if you have already been vaccinated with Zostavax, it is still recommended to receive two doses of the Shingrix vaccine (wait at least 8 weeks after Zostavax before getting Shingrix).

What Should You Know About Shingrix?

Let’s take a look at the information given by the CDC (Centers For Disease Control), which is the foremost expert on vaccines and infectious disease, regarding Shingrix. (

According to the CDC, “shingles vaccination is the only protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia, the most common complication from shingles.” Healthy adults ages 50 years and older should get two doses of Shingrix to prevent shingles and complications of shingles.

The two doses of Shingrix are given at zero (time of first vaccine) and then 2-6 months following the first vaccine. You can get your vaccine at your pharmacy or doctor’s office, pending availability (more on that later). Most insurance companies, in my experience, cover a large portion or the entire cost of the shot. If you are one of the patients who have to pay out of pocket, cost per dose is approximately $180, so you would pay a total of about $360 to receive both vaccinations (cost varies slightly by store/chain).

How Well Does It Work?

The CDC reports that two doses of Shingrix are more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and PHN. For at least the first four years after vaccination, protection stays above 85% effective.

Is Shingrix Available?

One concern over the Shingrix vaccine is availability; there are major shortage issues with this vaccine. I have heard stories of patients on a 400-person waiting list! (In my independent pharmacy, we use a different supplier than the chains, and we have not been as affected by the shortage). I contacted GSK (GlaxoSmithKline), manufacturer of Shingrix, regarding this issue. GSK tells me that there has been “extraordinary demand” creating “temporary out of stock situations,” and that they will be significantly increasing delivery and accelerating shipments to where Shingrix will be shipped on a regular basis. There is a Shingrix vaccine locator on the website. After using the locator, I would recommend calling the pharmacy first to confirm availability. ( You can also sign up for second vaccine reminders. Once you find the vaccine in stock, I would recommend requesting that the pharmacy holds the second dose for you; many pharmacies routinely do this. GSK reports that if it is over six months when you get your second vaccine (due to availability or any reason), you can get your second dose as soon as possible, and you do not need to restart the entire series.

What Are the Side Effects of Shingrix?

Another concern I have been hearing from patients is the potential for side effects from Shingrix vaccine. The GSK manufacturer website has a section on side effects ( and explains that the most common side effects are: pain/redness/swelling at injection site, muscle pain, tiredness, headaches, shivering, fever, and upset stomach. Severe allergic reactions, which are less common, may include: hives, face/throat swelling, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness.  Pharmacists are CPR-certified and have an Epipen ready in case of any severe reaction. While I always have my Epipen available when giving any type of vaccination, fortunately I have never had to use it.

According to the CDC:

“Studies show that Shingrix is safe. The vaccine helps your body create a strong defense against shingles. As a result, you are likely to have temporary side effects from getting the shots. The side effects may affect your ability to do normal daily activities for 2 to 3 days.

“Most people got a sore arm with mild or moderate pain after getting Shingrix, and some also had redness and swelling where they got the shot. Some people felt tired, had muscle pain, a headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, or nausea. About 1 out of 6 people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities.  Symptoms went away on their own in about 2 to 3 days. Side effects were more common in younger people.”

If you experience side effects, you should report them to the Vaccine Adverse Effect  Reporting System ( or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

Shingrix (not a live vaccine) is now the preferred vaccine, over Zostavax. Zostavax, which is a live vaccine ( explains the different forms of vaccines) for healthy adults 60 years and older, may be used if a person requests it, if a person is allergic to Shingrix, or if the person needs immediate vaccination and Shingrix is not available.

I consulted with a colleague, Jennifer Gershman, PharmD (, who has written several articles on Shingrix. I think of her as an expert on the topic.

Her recommendation:

“I highly recommend Shingrix, but believe that the percentage of people getting localized reactions like swelling, and systemic symptoms such as fever, is higher than what was reported in studies since it is now being introduced into a greater patient population. It is definitely an important vaccine to get and is much more effective than Zostavax.”

Taking into account all of the information, I strongly recommend receiving the Shingrix vaccine. The possible side effects, even if bothersome for a few days, are much easier to deal with, compared to the potential pain and long-term complications of shingles. Always consult your doctor or pharmacist for personalized advice.

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I feel the Shingrix is one of the most important things a person over 55 can do for their well-being, in spite of side effects. They really should let ppl know about side effects. Even the Clinic Admin said she’d never heard of the symptoms I had. So, that was a bit disconcerting for those few days. Glad to know now the side effects meant that the vaccine was doing its work!

Just had the 2nd shot and feel unusually drained and sleepy today. (I do have FMS). With the 1st shot, I had wicked 4-day flu-like symptoms and my arm was so painful couldn’t lift it. But grateful I could pay for it.

Just had my first dose of the Shingrix vaccine yesterday.I’m fairly tolerant of pain, but this one hurt, and I was so tired last night. Today my shoulder is very tender, and I’m tired again but with luck should feel better tomorrow. However, I had shingles on my head/face/eye 6 years ago and would do just about anything to avoid going through that again. Still have the nasty scars, too!

I had the Shingrix vaccine, and I am very glad I did. I did have some soreness and a slight fever (moreso with the first injection). The risk of having Shingles scares me to death after seeing some friends had it. Would do it again in a heartbeat!

This is very helpful. I have been conflicted about getting the vaccination and am concerned about the side effects. I am not immunocompromised but both my husband and I had reactions to our flu shots that sound similar to those mentioned. It concerns me that something that is so important is not fully covered by most plans as the flu and pneumonia vaccines are. Thank you again for the input.

I was eager to get the Shingrix vaccine because the Shingles I have are horrible! After the first shot I had flu like symptoms but did not care. However, three days after the shot I broke with shingles again. I received the second shot two months later, had no side effects but broke out with shingles four days later. I still have shingles outbreaks and have had the complete series of shingrix. I would MOST DEFINITELY get the shots again if there were any hope of stopping this horrible shingles. Please get the shots. You do not want to be where I am at with shingles all of the time. The pain is horrible. I do not regret getting the shingrix vaccine and like I said, I would take it every year if I thought it would eventually stop the shingles outbreaks.

I had the Zostervax shot about seven years ago within a month I broke out in hives that were acutely itchy. The hives lasted for five years and I lived on antihistamines that made me miserable. I have decided not to try the Shingrix vaccine because I can’t risk the hives returning. I hope this is the right decision,

My husband and I both had the Shingrix shots. He had a mild fever and tiredness and, of course, a sore arm the day after one of his shots. I don’t remember if it was the first or the second one, but he had no side effects from the other one. I had a much worse reaction; the first shot put me in bed for two days with a sinus headache, fever, extreme tiredness. The second one, two months later, affected me the same way but for just one day.
I would do it again in a heartbeat. I think vaccines are miracles of modern medicines and I thank the researchers who spend their lives trying to develop treatments that will make a real difference in the health of us all. I would far rather have a few days of side effects than the disease.
Even though I am on an ACA plan with a very high deductible, my insurance covered it completely. There was an issue with availability for both the shots, but I was lucky enough for it to work out. My husband had no availability issues.

Excellent article – thank you. After the first dose had a very sore arm and a headache the next day. After the second dose, woke up 12 hours later with fever, chills, aches – the “hit by a truck”‘feeling. That passed in about 12 hours but the headache persisted a bit longer, as did the sore arm. I agree that the estimates of bad reactions are low. I reported my experience through VAERS. I still think it’s better than a case of shingles, though.

I am unconvinced that the shingles shots are necessary. My 67 year-old daughter (got it in Nov. 2018), and my 65 year-old son (got it in Feb. 2018 just weeks after his father died). Both had the shot years ago, and then both got shingles in 2018. Both tell me they will take the new ones. My son has no lasting episodes of it, and my daughter had a mild case, suffered from extreme pain in the mandible and seen 2 times before a rash formed before shingles was diagnosed. I feel if it was so common a disease Medicare and all insurances would cover it. I would have to pay almost $400.00 to have it since I didn’t reach my maximum for prescription medications. I only take 1 prescription, Synthroid, for Graves Disease. I am 87 years old. $400.00 is a lot of money for me to spend.

First shot, sore arm same day, next day, 2nd evening woke up from dead sleep retching for full 12 hours then another full day of weakness before 3rd day OK. The bad reactions seemed removed enough from the shot that I thought it was a coincidence, and I had gotten a flu or virus. Next shot, total repeat of the above. NOWHERE in side effects are vomiting and flu-like symptoms mentioned. I have since talked to many people (I’m a Medicare insurance agent) with my identical symptoms. Why are these symptoms / reactions not in the warnings?

My husband had a nasty case of Shingles 20 years ago, after which I obtained the Zostavax shot. This year our Integrative MD recommended that we both get the Shingrix shots and said the cost would be less at our pharmacy than through his clinic. Our pharmacy put us on a wait list of about 10 or 11 and called soon as their next supply arrived. We had minor discomfort the first day. The druggist called to remind us about the second shots, and he had them in stock. We had more discomfort with the second shots, but only for one day. No cost with our insurance!

No thanks. I got very sick after the flu shot, almost like having the full blown flu. I’ve had chickenpox and am willing to take my chances. I also get cold sores and regularly take Valtrex for prevention. Getting a vaccine for shingles requires one to stop the Valtrex for a few weeks prior. Too iffy for me.

Was given shingles shot number 2 at a big chain pharmacy. Was told told it was fine to take it with the flu shot.
Do not know if the combination was at fault or not, but I would not recommend taking the two at the same time!
Had fever, chills, muscle aches, almost useless arm where shingles shot was given. Could hardly move or turn over in the bed the night after the shots. Felt worn out and dead tired. Lasted a couple of days but arm sore for a good week.

Would still recommend taking it. We had had the shot that first came out but my husband got Shingles on his face anyway. Dreadful pain, big open sores from blisters, and he still has odd nerve tingling in the area where the breakouts were, and it has been a couple of years. Protection is worth the side effects. The shingles lasted for months!

I had a strong reaction to the first shot. Very sore and red at injection site for a week. Shivering, headache, body ache and upset stomach for 2-3 days. I am currently past due for my 2nd shot, but am putting it off (if they even have it) because I am sick with Graves’ Disease. I recently read that if you delay the second shot you don’t have to start over, but effectiveness will be less.

I had the earlier shingles vaccine several years ago. Do I need to have Shingrix also, as sort of a booster?

Hi Doris! If you had the Zostavax it is recommended to get two doses of the Shingrix.

Does taking Lysine on a regular basis, say almost daily, prevent shingles?

I take Lysine daily and would like to know also if it might help to protect me. I eat healthy and currently take one Rx and supplements.

Hey Teri

Every day I take 1000 mg. of L Lysine to control my herpes zoster and it works really well. I suggested it to a friend of mine who had been through the medical mill trying to find relief for his vicious outbreaks of shingles. Based on absolutely zero, nada, no medical training, I have always thought that chickenpox, herpes and shingles are all related. The last time I saw him, I asked him how he was doing and he said ” it’s like a miracle”. Maybe give it a whirl, girl.

P.S.- I buy my Lysine at CVS. Have purchased it at other stores and immediately had an outbreak.

With the original shingles shot I didn’t have any kind of reaction. With the two-part one the first shot my arm really hurt, and for an hour and a half that evening I ached all over. Got second shot in two months, and that day all the joints in my hand swelled up and felt like they were burning. It was like it triggered an arthritic reaction in my body, as the aching did spread to other areas as well. I don’t hurt as much now, about five months since, but I still have some of that pain in my joints. I hurt so much it was hard to sleep. Taking pain pills was not an option for me because of other problems.

Yes, I reported it right away but don’t see my reaction being listed as a possible side effect. Just be aware!

I was raised before the chicken pox vaccine became available. I was the only child in 2nd grade not to get chickenpox. I kept having kids breathe on me because I wanted to stay at home for two weeks like all the other kids, but it didn’t happen. I was told a few years ago that getting the chicken pox vaccine could cause shingles, so I didn’t get it. Is there anything a person who hasn’t had chickenpox or chickenpox vaccine should know about getting the shingles shots?

Both my wife and I had the first dose. Her main complaint was extreme tiredness. My major side effect was a tremendous exaggeration of my usually mild essential tremor. This was NOT shivering. Fortunately, it subsided to my normal state after a few hours, but I am concerned about the second dose. I reported this to the manufacturer, and they didn’t know of other people who had this experience. I do know of at least one other person similarly affected.

I had the first injection in Sept, second in December. I have a compromised immune system yet the only side effect I had was a sore arm (same feeling as getting a tetanus shot). No redness or swelling.

I honestly expected more side effects due to my health problems and was surprised when they didn’t occur.

It’s my understanding that you need to have the injections at a pharmacy. With Medicare and most other insurances, it’s covered 100%, sometimes a small co-pay, under your drug coverage.

It’s always our responsibility as the patient to check with our insurance on coverage PRIOR to having any procedure done.

I’m not a fan of Big Pharma and their money making schemes but I don’t believe there is any correlation between having the vaccine and developing the herpes virus.

From what I’ve seen and heard first hand of the pain of shingles, I personally would recommend receiving the vaccine.

What if I got a shingles vaccine several years ago when I turned 60? Should I now also get this new Shingrix shingles vaccine? Do I need to have both vaccines?

Public health experts do recommend that you get this newer, more potent vaccine even though you had the first one already.

Hi, Douglas, yes if you had zostavax it is recommended to get two doses of Shingrix.

I had the first Shringrix, with no side effects, except a little soreness at injection site.
Walmart Pharmacy let me know when my second one was available, and I had the second one at 4 months. That night I had chills & shivering. Next morning, I woke up dizzy and faint feeling. After resting for a while longer, decided to get up and make coffee. Stirring coffee at counter…passed out…next thing I woke up on floor. Lucky nothing was broken, only some bruises from hitting counter on way to floor. By afternoon, I was feeling normal. I’m glad I took the vaccine, because I do not want to get Shingles. Just a reminder to be more careful if you’re feeling faint. I’m 78 yrs old.

I am curious as to why I was charged $397 for both the first and second doses of Shingrex. My Highmark insurance paid very little as well as Medicare. Just MY portion for each shot was $397 each time! I had no idea it would be so expensive.
I had flu-like symptoms with both injections. Severe body aches and general unwellness were so bad that I was in bed for 5 days with the first shot and 3 days with the second.
My husband had the arm soreness with the first shot and 2 days of flu-like symptoms with the second.
I hope it was worthwhile, but there’s no real way to know.

I got both of my SHINGRIX shots without any ill effects although I had to wait more than 2 months to get the second dose. My system was not at peak as I had a lot of ill effects from a harmone depressant drug following my double mystectomy in late March.
If the shots are costing you a bundle you have a lousey drug plan.

After watching my older brother (he’s in his mid 70s, I’m 67) suffer from the lingering pain after shingles -something my late mother experienced as well- I think this is an instance in which there is no free ride. For most people, it would seem, the side-effects of the vaccine are very likely to be less troubling than the suffering experienced with shingles. My wife and I had sore arms, with some warmth at the injection site, but that was it. I think people who have more pronounced negative reaction are more likely to post here, so I am writing to add some balance. Discuss it with your doctor and pharmacist. And no, there are no “live cells” in this vaccine; viruses are not cells in any case.

Get the vaccine is what my wife and I’d say, and so does my brother, who is still being cared for at a pain-control clinic several years after having shingles!

I appreciate this article and the comments of those who have actually had the injections. I would like more articles and many more comments before husband and I decide if we even want to have these injections. We are really undecided and not convinced .about taking this new two dose Shingles vaccine. The articles you publish are very helpful. Thank you.

I know two people who got the shingles shot and they both have herpes now.

They had herpes before they had the shot.

I got my first shot on July 21 and the second one on Nov27. I had a little soreness on both shots but nothing serious. On Dec 4, I had a rash all over my body and was advised by a nurse practitioner to take Benadryl. I did this for two days and on the 3 rd day when the rash persisted, I saw a Dr. for a regularly scheduled visit. I had to have a drip done for another condition so the DR. added a steroid and Pepsid to the saline drip. Today , the largest patch oozed and is starting to crust over. I am not itching and I have no pain yet… I am wondering if this is related to the vaccination since it occurred a week later.

You’ve got to be kidding. the vaccines side effects are not to be messed with. This is the best the pharmaceutical companies can come up with? I wonder if a serious study was conducted to truly evaluate a healthy, preventive medication. From the sad effects of so many vaccines, I doubt that this was attempted. I doubt that my doctor has even read partial literature on each vaccine he/she prescribes. Most of the trials are weak at best. However, money makers for the pharmaceutical companies.

GET THIS SHOT! My mother had the other vaccine several years back (it provided 40-60% coverage, as I recall) but still got Shingles earlier this year. She had to stay with me for 10 weeks because her outbreak was so bad and because she got post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), the nerve pain that stays after Shingles blisters have healed. It was truly awful. But she was lucky…some older people get PHN that stays with them the rest of their lives. She got the new vaccine after she’d recovered — the first shot made her feel pretty bad for two days (achiness, all-over rotten feeling, etc.), but she had no issue with the booster. The fact that the new vaccine offers 90% protection is outstanding and makes it worth the discomfort of the shot. Really, GET THIS SHOT!

Coincidentally, this morning I was at the local Fred Meyer (a Kroger division) that has a pharmacy. Stopped by the pharmacy, knowing I would be on a waiting list, but was surprised to learn the list is about six months now.

My sister who stays up on immunizations because she travels a lot, has had both Shingrix shots now. She said the first was bad, the second one not quite as bad. Apparently, her pharmacy has learned to warm up the vaccine before administration. A cold vaccine is the cause of the severe arm soreness, she was told. (Have no idea if that is correct.)

Also, please review the CDC’s webpage on Shingrix. They report possible impairment of daily activities for up to three days. One in six trial patients reported having daily activity impaired.

I had the first Shingrex shot in May and my arm was a little touchy when I slept on it,
but that was the only reaction. Had the second shot in October, and wasn’t even
sure the nurse had given it: No pain whatsoever. Never sick, tired, feverish at all with either shot.

I had shingles a few years ago,bad. I still have a few spots on my back that give me a stab now and then. My doctor told me NOT to take the shot because it might reactivate the virus. I am happy with that advice. The pharmaceutical companies are making plenty without me. I hope this hasn’t harmed others.

I had a bad case of shingles a few years ago. As if the ugly painful lingering rash wasn’t bad enough, I also developed postherpetic neuralgia after the rash cleared . The nerve pain bedeviled me for months ! It was really quite awful. I’ve asked pharmacists and doctors about getting the new vaccine, as to it’s effectiveness for previous shingles sufferers and whether or not the vaccine might trigger a flare up of the virus is still dormant in my body. I read in this article that those of us who have already had a bout of shingles “should” get the SHINGRIX vaccine to prevent another attack, but I don’t see reference to any clinical studies or experiences demonstrating that it won’t cause a breakout of shingles! Everything I’ve read or been told, has been quite vague. I heartily recommend getting vaccinated if you haven’t already had shingles, but I’m inclined to wait for more information about post shingles vaccinating.

I had the vaccine on a Friday morning, by that night I could barely lift my arm without wanting to scream in pain – it was that bad, (and I have been told I have a high pain tolerance). My arm was extremely sore for about 4 days, required 2 ibuprofen every 6 hours, and I was not able to do most of the things I wanted to do. My MD suggested I do not get the second vaccine and put it on my drug allergy list. It only hurt, never itched, I did not have a fever, respiratory issues, or tongue/throat swelling issues. My allergist stated I could get the second vaccine if I load steroids two days prior and day of and have them available for up to two days after.
I do not know if I am a person who would likely get shingles, I also do not know if getting only one dose provides me enough protection against shingles,… How to weigh is it worth it to go through this again or not is where I am currently at. I have heard of people who have lost their vision due to shingles, so I do not want to go there. Additionally, we are not able to get on the list for the second vaccine as there is not enough serum to go around. We are to call in, starting at 2 months post vaccine, to one year. The office contacted the manufacturer and they stated getting the second vaccine up to one year after the first would still offer protection.

I had a nasty torso rash 48 hours after my first Shingrix jab. Doctor said it must have been a coincidence as not one of the listed side effects.

So I went ahead with the second jab – same nasty rash.

Although the rash was unpleasant and lasted several days, I’m thinking it was probably worth it if Shingrix does its job preventing shingles.

Because I have thin arms with small muscles, I always ask for vaccines to be injected into a large buttock muscle. Unlike the vaccines injected into my arm, I’ve never experienced any muscle soreness with this technique. Is there any contraindication for injecting vaccines into the buttock muscles rather than the arm? My doctor was unsure about this.

Thank you for this informative article. However, reading that the pharmacist may use the EpiPen if there is a reaction is a concern for me. I have had a malignant neuroendocrine tumor which was resected 6 years ago. One of the warnings for those of us with a history of that disease is to strictly avoid epinephrine because it has the potential to cause “carcinoid crisis” which can be deadly. There is no way to know ahead of time if it will affect any particular individual that way or not. I guess that leaves me out, especially since I also have an autoimmune issue.

I have never had a bad reaction to a vaccine, have few allergies to environment, and none that I know of to food. However, I had a severe reaction to this vaccine, was immobile for a day. I did not return for the second dose.

I had the first shot a month ago. My arm was really sore. I’ll get the next shot in February or so..

After my first shot I had mild fever next evening and a red area at the site that was sore. Two month later I got my second dose and barely a fever and no redness. I am glad I got the shots after watching my mother suffer from shingles.

I have had Shingles multiple times. Can I get the Shingrix vaccine and will it help me?

I received the Zostavax shot for Shingles two years ago. Is it recommended that I also get the new vaccine? It took weeks for my arm to get back to normal after the Zostavax so I am concerned about the new one.

I got shots 2 months apart – localized soreness, some headache/body ache from the first one, but otherwise fine. Same for my 93-year-old mother. I had to move heaven and earth to get both doses before I went off private insurance (which covered Shingrix fully) and started Medicare (Part D coverage tends to be minimal) – called pharmacies all over the region both times and got lucky because I was willing to drive 60 miles for dose 2. My husband has Humana Part D and thus is limited to Walmart pharmacies, and he was told it will be at least January 2019 before he can start his series (started trying in August). I know many unvaccinated people who got shingles in their 60s and 70s, and one still had disabling pain a year later. Did not know that people with shingles are contagious – important information, especially for people with grandbabies or friends undergoing medical treatments that compromise the immune system.

I have had both Shingrix shots and experienced pain at the injection site for a few days each time. My mother had shingles and months of pain due to the neuralgia that sometimes follows the shingles outbreak. The mild discomfort from the Shingrix is well worth avoiding that horrible shingles experience. I am 77.

I developed shingles (diagnosed by MD) after receiving Zostavax several years ago and still have recurrent bouts. Should I get Shingrix?

I was so excited to see the Shingrix vaccine become available and once my sihngles outbreak cleared I had the first shot. I did run a fever and ached all over for two days. On the third day I broke with Shingles. I then waited the eight weeks for the second part of the vaccine. After the second vaccine I did not have fever or aches, but four days later I broke with shingles again. I continue to have outbreaks so I am guessing that I am the 10-15% the vaccine did not work for. I would take the vaccine every year if I thought it would stop these horrible outbreaks and excrutiating pain. I would recommend at least trying it because the only thing you have to possibly lose would be the shingles.

I was ill for 5 days following the first vaccination of Shingrix. I got the second vaccination October 10. It is December 7 and I am still so ill that I am mostly in bed or in the couch with full body shingles like symptoms.

I have chronic lumbar sacral pain and 2 autoimmune diseases. The company doesn’t really know how people like me will respond to the vaccine, ie a person with a heightened immune system and nervous system. I wish I had never received the vaccine.

My husband who has never reacted to any vaccine was sick for 11 days. My pharmacy is getting reports from 1 out of 4 people about reactions and the CDC is getting reports from one out of 10 people getting the vaccinations.

I am still so sick I am worried about how long this virus will take to finally work it’s way out of my system or if it will. My doctor says there is nothing he can do. The drug company gave me a number for my doctor to call. My doctor has called 3 times but hasn’t received a call back. They must be very busy.

If you have a heightened immune system and nervous system I would seriously consider if you should get the vaccination. The company is collecting information from people like me to help with future recommendations. That doesn’t help me.

If I already received the Zostavax vaccine, should I still get the Shingrix ?

We got the Shingrix vaccine recently, and even with good insurance it cost hundreds of dollars. It is “supposed” to last forever. Until now, every year we got the regular one-year shingles vaccine and it cost about $10 (or $0 with insurance). How are people supposed to afford this “latest new thing”? How do we know it really will still be any good years from now? This seems like just another racket to hike up the cost of medicine.

I got my first Shingrix vaccine and did not stop itching for almost a month–I think I’ll skip the second dose.

Katherine, itching for one month after your first Shingrix shot is a walk in the park when compared to an actual shingles infection. I had shingles in August 2017. It was horrendous. Awful, burning pain that made me scream and cry. This went on for five weeks. Now, I still have post-herpetic pain on the left side of my body where I had the initial infection. I also have a neurologic after-effect that is very bothersome. In my opinion, you might be much better off getting the second injection.

This was a thoughtful and very helpful review.

I got first Shingrix shot yesterday (12/6/18). Today I awoke with sore arm and general muscle pain and stiffness. Mild and manageable, but I was glad to read this article!

I had the first shot about 3 months ago. I had the sore arm for about a week and suffered the fever and chills the first night. I am 81 and do not want to have Shingles. I have seen what the results of Shingles can be and at my age don’t want to go through the pain and suffering. I will have the second shot the first of the year.

The first Shingrix shot made me feel tired for three days, during which I could not participate in normal activities. I received the shot at a grocery store pharmacy. I kept track on my calendar about the time frame to receive the second shot. At the two-month mark, I called the pharmacy and found out that at that point in time, there were only 200 doses available. After the second shot, I had to spend an entire day in bed. However, I am glad I have had Shingrix to avoid the severe consequences of shingles.

I got the first shingles shot and Prevnar 13 at the same time. The pharmacist warned me that I would likely have soreness at the injection site and possibly feel a bit unwell and tired for about 48 hours. She was spot on. I was surprised at how sore my arm was. I felt run down and tired (but still able to function) for 2 days and then was fine. I got the shot after work on Friday and was fine Monday morning. After seeing what a colleague went through with shingles, it was (hopefully) worth it.

Does Shingrix have “live cells?” I take Enbrel for RA and I cannot take vaccines with live cells.

Would it be safe for me to take – the side effects are just as bad as my RA & fibromyalgia

It is not a live vaccine, but you still might get side effects.

If I read the article correctly, it said Shingrix is NOT made with live virus cells. Just to be on the safe side, it is probably best to check with your pharmacist before signing up for the immunizations.

My wife and I have just completed the SHINGRIX injections two weeks ago. The shots were 3 months apart. We are both in our 80’s and other than the sore arm at the site for a day or so, we have not experienced any side effects. We were on a waiting list at COSTCO and they were
very good about follow up when the vaccine arrived.

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