Shingles Vaccine After A Shingles Episode: How Soon?

In our latest question and answer, our pharmacist discusses the recommendation for how soon you can get the shingles vaccine after a shingles attack.

Question

I had a very light case of shingles on my buttocks, about 3 months ago. I did not have any pain, just a little itching. The patch was about 3 inches in diameter. How soon can I get the Shingrix vaccine? I have not had any vaccine for shingles at this time. I'm on gabapentin for my neuropathy and perhaps that is why I got such a mild case.

Asked by Annie On Jul 30, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Jul 30, 2022
Last updated Jul 30, 2022

Key points

  • Recommendations for how soon you can get vaccinated for shingles with the vaccine (Shingrix or Zostavax) vary by source.
  • The CDC provides guidance that you can receive the vaccine after a current shingles episode has cleared up. Other regulatory bodies (e.g. in Canada and the UK) are more conservative and recommend waiting up to one year.

Hi there and thanks for reaching out to us!

We've actually answered this very question in the past, and that answer can be found on our website here: Shingles Vaccine After Shingles Attack.

To summarize that answer, the recommendation for how soon you can receive the shingles vaccine (Shingrix or Zostavax) after experiencing an episode of shingles depends on what source you reference.

  • In the United States, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) states you can get the vaccine after your current episode of shingles has cleared up (i.e. after your rash has gone away).
  • The guidelines in both Canada and the United Kingdom are more conservative. They recommend waiting up to one year after an episode of shingles to get the vaccine.

Overall, there is a lack of concrete evidence about how a recent episode of shingles could affect the vaccine, or whether you could be more at risk for vaccine side effects.

There does not seem to be much evidence that shows it is inherently risky to get the shingles vaccine right after a recent attack has cleared up in individuals who are healthy, not immunocompromised, and don't otherwise have risk factors for complications. The recommendations from the UK and Canada seem to be based on the lack of studies evaluating the specific scenario of vaccination right after an episode.

I recommend discussing your situation with your doctor so they can provide guidance for your particular medical situation.

Thank you again for reaching out!

References

  • CDC: Shingrix, CDC
  • Shingles Vaccination Questions and Answers, NHS UK
  • Herpes zoster (shingles) vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide, Health Canada

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Feel free to send him an email at Hello@HelloPharmacist.com! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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