Shingles (Herpes Zoster) Vaccination
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.
CDC still recommends Zostavax® for healthy adults 60 years and older to prevent shingles. This shingles vaccine may be used in certain cases, such as when a person prefers Zostavax or is allergic to Shingrix. You can 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.
- CDC Shingles Website
- Shingles Fact Sheet: What You Need to Know About Shingles and Shingles Vaccine [2 pages]
- Shingles information on vaccines.gov
- Pictures of Shingles Warning: Some of these photos are graphic.
- CDC Feature: Prevent Shingles
- Page last reviewed: November 22, 2016
- Page last updated: November 22, 2016
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