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Shingles vaccine side effects

Side effects from the vaccine are usually quite mild and don’t last long.

The most common side effects are:

  • pain and tenderness in the arm where the injection was given;
  • headache; and
  • general aches. 

After the Shingrix vaccine you may feel tired and have a fever. You can rest and take the normal dose of paracetamol (follow the advice in the packaging) to help make you feel better. Do not use machines or drive if you are feeling unwell.

If the side effects last for more than a few days, you should speak to a healthcare professional.

If you have had the weakened live virus vaccine (Zostavax), a rash of small blisters may develop where the injection was given (but this is rare). If this happens, cover the rash until it crusts over and avoid contact with newborn babies and anyone with a weakened immune system or who is pregnant, especially if they have never had chickenpox. Please get advice from your GP surgery.

Other side effects are uncommon or very rare.

You can report suspected side effects of the vaccine by visiting or by calling the Yellow Card Hotline on 0800 731 6789 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Allergic reaction to shingles vaccination

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

Anaphylaxis is very serious and potentially life-threatening.. All healthcare staff that deliver vaccinations are trained in dealing with anaphylaxis. 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 0800 731 6789  (Monday to Friday 09.00 – 17.00).

Find out how to report a vaccine side effect.

Last Updated: 03/10/2023 10:37:17
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website