Shingles is a painful rash that usually develops on one side of the body, often the face or torso. The rash consists of blisters that typically scab over in 7 to 10 days and clears up within 2 to 4 weeks. Some people describe the pain as an intense burning sensation. For some people, the pain can last for months or even years after the rash goes away. This long-lasting pain is called postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), and it is the most common complication of shingles. Your risk of getting shingles and PHN increases as you get older.
A new shingles vaccine called Shingrix was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017. CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix, 2 to 6 months apart. Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and PHN. Shingrix is the preferred vaccine, over Zostavax®, a shingles vaccine in use since 2006.
Zostavax® may still be used to prevent shingles in certain cases for healthy adults 60 years and older. For example, you could use Zostavax if a person is allergic to Shingrix, prefers Zostavax, or requests immediate vaccination and Shingrix is unavailable. Learn more about Zostavax.
CDC recommends Shingrix for adults 50 years and older. Even people who have had shingles or previously got Zostavax can be vaccinated with Shingrix to prevent shingles and the complications caused by the disease.
- Page last reviewed: January 25, 2018
- Page last updated: February 22, 2018
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