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Shingles vaccine side effects

Shingles vaccine side effects

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

The most common side effects of the shingles vaccine Zostavax®, are headache and redness, pain, swelling, itching, warmth and bruising at the injection site

Rarely, following Zostavax® 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.

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

The most common side effects following the shingles vaccine Shingrix® are pain at the injection site, tummy upsets, muscle aches, tiredness and headache.

Other side effects are very uncommon.

Any side effects from these vaccines are likely to only last a few days. If any side effects carry on for longer, speak to your GP or practice nurse.

Allergic reaction to shingles vaccination

As with all vaccines, there is a very small chance of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a 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: 17/02/2022 16:07:56
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website