Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

Group of adults.

About 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as herpes zoster, in their lifetime. An estimated 1 million people get shingles each year in this country. If you’ve ever had chickenpox, you can get shingles. Even children can get shingles. Your risk of shingles increases as you get older.

What causes shingles?

Shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. This virus can reactivate years later, causing shingles.

Get the new shingles vaccine if you are 50 or older. More
Signs & Symptoms
rash on front and back of the body.
  • Pain, itching, or tingling of the skin followed by a
  • Painful rash of blister-like sores, usually on one side of the body, often on the face or torso
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Upset stomach
Shingles Vaccines

Two shingles vaccines are licensed in the United States, and recommended to prevent shingles.  Zoster vaccine live (ZVL, Zostavax) has been in use since 2006. Recombinant zoster vaccine (RZV, Shingrix), has been in use since 2017, and is recommended as the preferred shingles vaccine.

Zostavax will no longer be sold in the United States starting July 1, 2020. Some pharmacies and clinics may still have Zostavax in stock. This vaccine is safe and may be used until the supply expires (before or by November 18, 2020).