Shingles Shot Side Effects: Know These Details Before Getting It!

shingles shot side effects

Have you got yourself a shot of Shingrix and are facing a slight redness on your skin, muscle pain, or a bit of temperature rise – and that’s why you are worried; let’s assure you – you are alright. These are some of the most common shingles shot side effects you face. However, there has been more than a single report of people facing a host of major side effects (one of the key reasons why the FDA discontinued the Zostavax vaccine).

Well, now that you are hovering on this page, assuredly, you will get clarity about the multiple side effects that this vaccine shot may have on you, remedies to deal with the same, and an insight into who must get the shot and those who may avoid it. Without further ado –

What are shingles shot side effects?

shingles shot side effects
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On taking the shingles vaccine, you may either have a mild side effect or a major side effect in certain specified cases – leading to hives, shortness of breath, vomiting, increased heartbeat, dizziness, and extreme weakness.

Let’s discuss them in detail –

  • If you have any of the minor side effects like – mild fever, muscle pain, swelling at the injected site, slight fatigue, stomach pain, and nausea, then –

As you know, the shingles vaccine is given in 2 doses; normally, these mild reactions occur after the preliminary dose. Especially in young people, the shingles shot side effects are more significant compared to the older individuals.

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, over-the-counter ibuprofen or azithromycin works well. It would help to get rest for 2-3 days, along with the medicines to get better.

  • If you have any major side effects like – hives, swelling of throat area and face, extreme weakness, breathing difficulty along with irregular heartbeat, then –

For this, you need to take ibuprofen, for starters. If that does not work, it is best to connect with the doctor as soon as possible.

Now, though rare, one of the extended shingles shot side effects is Guillain Barre Syndrome. This includes muscle paralysis, especially in the lower part of the body. If not dealt with in the first instance, it could be life-threatening. Another issue that can happen is – a severe allergic reaction: anaphylaxis, which is also a life-threatening condition and requires immediate medical help.

However, before that – check if the person is carrying an epinephrine pen. The details are noted in the pen; act accordingly. If you are facing any major side effects, lay down the person and keep him breathing till you call for help.

How do you deal with shingles shot side effects?

shingles vaccine side effects
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In case you have a minor reaction –

  • If you have contracted a fever, muscle pain, or headache or are suffering from overall restlessness, then seek home remedies like taking an OTC analgesic or antipyretic, having hot soup for relief, and taking ample rest. Technically, it has been found that the person gets well within 2-3 days.
  • If you have developed rashes all over your body, then an OTC-itching cream can substantially help. You can also use an ice pack over your rashes at intervals since they are extremely beneficial in treating these shingles shot side effects.
  • To have a nutritious diet is the key to long-term health. This will improve your current health and enhance your long-term immunity. Include plenty of greens, and limit the intake of junk food.
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However, suppose you have any major reaction, such as shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, or hives. In that case, after you have tried all the homemade tricks, then connect with a medical professional.

When to connect with the doctor?

shingles vaccine
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The correct time to connect with the doctor is when you see the shingles shot side effects getting out of hand. To make it more lucid, here’s giving you the specifics –

  • If you see the symptoms do not get better within a couple of days, at a maximum of 4-5 days with the home-relief techniques.
  • When you see that new symptoms are developing within a week of the emanating of old signs, assuredly, there is some inherent problem, and you need to take care of the same.
  • Lastly, if you see immediate side effects like shortness of breath or facial swelling, connect with the doctor now! Usually, as per protocol, a patient must wait 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine at the care centre in case of any emergency reactions.

What are the ingredients of this vaccine?

shingles vaccine
Image Credit: AARP

Unlike earlier times, medical science is way more transparent, and hence, you may even get a list of ingredients so that you have a better idea about the vaccine – in tune with the allergies of your body. The shingles vaccine (Shingrix) has the following ingredients –

  1. An inactive part of the varicella-zoster virus.
  2. A part of the organic compound like – QS-21 from the bark of an evergreen tree in Chile
  3. A specific portion of fats like – Monophosphoryl Lipid A, a significant part of cholesterol and Dioleoyl Phosphatidylcholine.
  4. Sodium chloride and other salts (limited components) to balance the pH value of the vaccine.

Therefore, before you take the vaccine, connect with your doctor and note down the specifications of the same to avoid any untoward shingles shot side effects.

What to know before you get the shot?

getting shingles vaccine
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As an aware individual who is going ahead to take the shingle shot, it is crucial you remember certain facts –

  • According to the CDC-backed data – 1 out of 3 individuals have a high chance of developing shingles, and 10-18% will face certain symptoms.
  • Also approved by both the FDA and CDC, adults over 50 years of age must get a shot of the vaccine to prevent future occurrences.
  • There is no maximum age for getting the vaccine – the minimum age, though, is fixed at 19 years.

So, suppose you are a healthy individual above 19 years of age, with no history of either chickenpox or a previous shingles attack, and perhaps have taken a shot of the now-discontinued shingles vaccine Zostavax. In that case, you are eligible to take the vaccine. Check out the other crucial factors and take the vaccine at the earliest.

Who must not get the shot?

no shingles vaccine
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There are certain conditions under which you must not get this vaccine shot. Let’s discuss that –

  1. You must not take this shot if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Once your pregnancy and breastfeeding or only breastfeeding period is over, connect with your doctor and work accordingly.
  2. Those already having shingles at the moment must steer clear of this vaccine. You should take this vaccine only after you are better and the medications have stopped, 6 months after that. Before that, consult with your doctor for further details.
  3. In case you are allergic to any of the mentioned ingredients of the vaccine, then you must not get a shot of it.
  4. Those above 19 years of age (the normal vaccine range) with a compromised immune system are more prone to the shingles shot side effects. Hence, take the vaccine only after careful consideration and detailed medical tests.
  5. For those who have a fever, with a temperature over 103 degrees F, take the medicine only after the fever has completely subsided.
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The official notification from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the Shingrix vaccine is safe for most adults. You must connect with the concerned medical service provider in case of any discrepancy.

Last thoughts

Assuming you have read this article well, you have clarity about shingles shot side effects that are most common as well as those that are rare but probable. One must also remember that the shingles vaccine’s benefits are way more than the side effects (after all, you all are quite aware of how painful the shingles rashes can get).

Hence, you should connect with the concerned medical practitioner and then go for the shot. If you are ineligible for the same or have an allergy of any kind, then you need to look for an alternative as well.

Did you like this article? Do you wish to know more about topics like this? Then leave your comments below and stay connected to this page!


  1. What are the shingles shot side effects? 

The basic side effects are mild redness and itching of the skin, fever, or even muscle pain. The rare but major side effects are – hives, high temperature, and even vomiting.

  2. Can you get the shot? 

If you are an adult with a history of shingles (or even if you never had it), have never had chickenpox, or have received the Zostavax vaccine (now discontinued) earlier, you may take it. Ensure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients or have any other inherent physical issue. Connect with your doctor before getting the vaccine shot.

  3. Which shot is most-opted? 

The FDA-noted Shingrix is the most-opted shot. Though other recognized vaccine shots are available, most prefer to stick to this shot. Recently, Zostavax was declared out of the FDA’s purview, and hence it is no longer accepted.

  4. How long does the effect of the vaccine last? 

Reports from the latest tests have shown that the immunity from the vaccine lasts for 7 years from the date of vaccination.

  5. Does Medicare cover the vaccine shot? 

As per the latest amendments made in the Medicare system (as noted by the CDC), Part D of Medicare covers a significant part of the Shingrix vaccine’s cost. However, you may have to pay certain additional fees associated with the same.


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