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Shingles

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How are CVS Pharmacy® and MinuteClinic® different?

At Pharmacy, vaccinations for adolescents through seniors are administered by a certified immunizing pharmacist. Age and state restrictions apply. No appointment necessary.

At MinuteClinic, vaccinations for children (18 months and older in most states) through seniors are administered by a medical provider. View wait times and schedule a visit online, or walk‐in anytime.

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Nearly 1 in 3 adults will develop shingles during their lifetime.

Shingles (herpes zoster)

Availability: CVS Pharmacy

What is shingles?

Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash that often appears on one side of the face or body. The rash consists of blisters that typically scab over and fully clears up within two to four weeks. Other symptoms can include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach.

Before the rash appears, people often have pain, itching or tingling in the area where it will develop, which may happen several days before the rash appears. The rash commonly occurs in a stripe or line around either the left or the right side of the body. The rash may also occur on the face, which may be dangerous because it can affect the eye and potentially cause vision loss.

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox, called varicella zoster (VZV). After a person recovers from chicken pox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in their body. The virus can reactivate later, causing shingles. If you have shingles, direct contact with the fluid from your rash blisters can spread the virus to people who have never had chicken pox or never received the chicken pox vaccine. If this happens and if they become infected, they will develop chicken pox not shingles. They could then potentially develop shingles later in life.1

What about the vaccine?

  • Shingrix2 is a vaccine indicated for prevention of herpes zoster and related complications (shingles) in adults aged 50 years and older. Two doses of Shingrix in immunocompromised adults (separated by two to six months) can help to provide strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), which is long‐term nerve pain, the most common complication of shingles. For updated recommendations about Shingrix, visit the CDC website: CDC.gov/Vaccines/VPD/Shingles/HCP/Shingrix/Recommendations.html
  • The two‐dose Shingrix vaccine series has been shown to be 97% effective in preventing shingles in adults aged 50 to 69 and 91% effective for those 70 and older.
  • The two‐dose Shingrix vaccine was 91% effective in preventing PHN in adults aged 50 to 69 and 89% effective in those 70 and older.

How long does protection last after receiving the shingles vaccine series?

Two doses of Shingrix are more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). After completing two doses of Shingrix, protection stays above 85% for at least the first four years after people get vaccinated.

How is the shingles shot given?

The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix (recombinant zoster vaccine), separated by two to six months, to help prevent shingles and the complications from the disease.

How often do people get the shingles shot?

The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of the shingles vaccine called Shingrix (recombinant zoster vaccine), separated by two to six months, to prevent shingles and the complications from the disease.

What does "Most insurance accepted" mean?

It means we accept over 5,000 health plans for vaccinations. Your out‐of‐pocket cost, if any, will depend on your specific insurance plan.

Who should get vaccinated?

Shingrix is approved for adults age 50 and older. Zostavax (a live vaccine previously used for prevention of herpes zoster) is no longer available for use in the United States as of November 18, 2020. You should get Shingrix even if in the past you had shingles, have received Zostavax, or are not sure if you had chicken pox. There is no maximum age for getting Shingrix.3

Who should NOT get vaccinated?

  • Patients with a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis) to any component of the vaccine or after a previous dose of Shingrix.
  • Patients who tested negative for immunity to the varicella zoster virus. If you test negative, you should get the chicken pox (varicella) vaccine.
  • Patients who currently have shingles.
  • Patients who are currently pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should wait to get Shingrix.

What are the side effects?

Because the vaccine helps your body create a strong defense against shingles, you are likely to have temporary side effects from getting the shots. You may experience side effects after either dose or after both doses, which may include:

  • Redness, soreness, swelling at the site of the vaccination.
  • Tiredness, muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain or nausea.

About one out of six people who got Shingrix experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities. Symptoms usually went away on their own in about two to three days.3

Like to learn more?

See all vaccinations

Visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines

*for vaccination availability: Vaccinations vary by state based on regulations. Age restrictions apply. See Immunization Scheduler for details.

  1. "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles (herpes zoster) vaccination. Last updated July 1, 2019. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/shingles/vaccination.html. Accessed September 27, 2021."
  2. "US Food and Drug Administration. Package insert - Shingrix. GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals. Last updated July 2021. Available at https://www.fda.gov/media/108597/download. Accessed September 27, 2021."
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What everyone should know about the shingles vaccine (Shingrix). Last updated January 25, 2018. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/shingles/public/shingrix/index.html. Accessed September 27, 2021.