Shingles vaccine side effects

Like all vaccines, the shingles vaccine can cause side effects, but they're generally mild and don't last long.

Common side effects of the shingles vaccine, which occur in at least 1 in 10 people, are:

  • headache
  • redness, pain, swelling, itching, warmth and bruising at the injection site

If any side effects carry on for longer than a few days, speak to your GP or practice nurse.

Tell your GP if you develop a rash after having the shingles vaccination.

Catching chickenpox from the shingles vaccine

Very occasionally, a person has developed chickenpox following shingles vaccination (fewer than 1 in 10,000 individuals).

Allergic reaction to shingles vaccination

There is a very small chance of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the shingles vaccine, as there is with other vaccines.

Anaphylaxis is very serious and potentially life-threatening, but it can be treated. All healthcare staff that deliver vaccinations are trained in this. With prompt treatment, people recover fully from anaphylaxis.

The risk of having a severe allergic reaction after vaccination has been estimated at around 1 in 900,000 (a little more than one in a million).

Monitoring the safety and side effects of the shingles vaccine

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from a vaccine. It's run by a medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Find out how to report a vaccine side effect.

You can read more about the side effects of the shingles vaccine in the patient information leaflet for Zostavax.

Page last reviewed: 28/07/2015

Next review due: 28/07/2017


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