Two vaccine doses needed to prevent shingles

Zostavax isn't perfect, so you should have the two-dose Shingrix vaccine if you are over 50.



April 27, 2020 - 9:15 AM

Dear Dr. Roach: I read in my morning newspaper that you recommend two doses of the vaccine to prevent shingles. Years ago, I received one dose, although I forget the name of it. What exactly is the second dose? Right now, I’m 70 years old and do not have shingles. — B.B.

Answer: If you had a single dose years ago, you had Zostavax, a live vaccine that afforded some protection, but the protection wasn’t perfect and started to wear off after a few years. The new vaccine is called Shingrix, and is a two-dose series. Two doses are necessary even if you had the previous Zostavax, and Shingrix is recommended if you are over 50, whether or not you have had the previous vaccine, and whether or not you have already had shingles.

If you actively have shingles, it’s recommended you wait until the shingles is completely gone before getting the vaccine.

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