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:
- 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 fully recover 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 1 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 (PDF, 171kb).
Page last reviewed: 6 July 2018
Next review due: 6 July 2021