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Shingles vaccine side effects

Like all vaccines, the shingles vaccines (Zostavax and Shingrix) can cause side effects, but they're generally mild and do not last long.

Common side effects that occur in at least 1 in 10 people are:

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

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.

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).

Visit Yellow Card for further information

You can read more about the side effects of the shingles vaccine in the patient information leaflets:

Page last reviewed: 31 August 2021
Next review due: 31 August 2024