What Everyone Should Know About Shingles Vaccines

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

Your risk of shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) increases as you get older. Two vaccines are licensed and recommended to prevent shingles in the U.S. 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 by ACIP as the preferred shingles vaccine. Zostavax may still be used to prevent shingles in 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.

What everyone should know about Shingrix

CDC recommends Shingrix as the preferred vaccine, over Zostavax for healthy adults 50 years and older

What everyone should know about Zostavax

Zostavax may still be used to prevent shingles in certain cases for healthy adults 60 years and older

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).

Page last reviewed: May 31, 2018