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.

Rarely a rash of small blisters develops where the injection was given. If this happens, the rash should be covered, and you should avoid contact with newborn babies, anyone with a weakened immune system or who is pregnant, especially if they have never had chickenpox, until it crusts over.

Other side effects are very rare.

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

Allergic reaction to shingles vaccination

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

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

Information on reporting side effects can be found online at or call the Yellow Card Hotline on 0808 100 3352 (Monday to Friday 10.00 – 14.00).

Find out how to report a vaccine side effect.


Last Updated: 01/04/2017 09:00:00
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website