Can You Get Shingrix (Shingles Vaccine) And The Flu Shot At The Same Time?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not you can get Shingrix (shingles vaccine) and the flu vaccine at the same time.

Question

Can I get Shingrix and the flu vaccine at the same time?

Asked by Mike On Mar 22, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Mar 24, 2018

Shingles And Flu ShotShingrix is a vaccine used in adults age 50 or older for the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles).  It can be given at the same time as the flu vaccine.  According to the CDC", giving Shingrix and Fluarix Quadrivalient, a flu vaccine, at the same time resulted in no harmful effects and did not diminish the response of either vaccine. 


Shingrix

The Center for Disease Control estimates over 1 million cases of herpes zoster, or shingles, occur each year.  Herpes zoster is a painful, skin eruption that occurs due to reactivation of the varicella zoster virus in the body.  A painful complication of shingles is postherpetic neuralgia, a persistent pain that can last for at least 90 days following the disappearance of the herpes rash.  This complication can occur in 10-13% of patients that have shingles and the incidence increases with age.  


It is recommended adults over 50 years of age who are immunocompromised or have chronic medical conditions receive a vaccine, like Shingrix, to prevent the reactivation of the herpes zoster virus in the body.  The most common side effects to the vaccine include:

  • Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Shivering
  • Stomach upset

Patients who are have moderate to severe illness should wait to receive the vaccination until the illness has past. Per the package insert, Shingrix is 91.3% effective in patients 70 years of age or older in reducing the development of herpes zoster.


Flu Vaccine

The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older be vaccinated against the flu virus each year.  Each year, 12,000 to 56,000 people die from flu complications per the CDC. The flu is most dangerous for patients who are young (< 2 years old) or old (> 65 years old), immunocompromised, pregnant or have other chronic health conditions like asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney disorders, liver disorders, HIV or AIDS or diabetes. The flu season can start as early as October and run as late as May.  


Most patients receive one dose of the flu vaccine each year.  Children age 6 months to 8 years will require two doses of the flu vaccine when receiving it for the first time.  The flu vaccine is generally well tolerated with the following adverse reactions being the most common:

  • Pain, redness or swelling at the injection site
  • Low grade fever
  • Aches


The effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies each year as the strain of the virus most prevalent changes from year to year.  Those patients that receive the flu shot are less likely to develop complications should they get the flu virus after being vaccinated.  Thus, getting the flu vaccine decreases a patient's chances of ending up hospitalized or even dying.  


Conclusion

Receiving both the Shingrix vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time poses no health risk.  Furthermore, the administration of both vaccines together does not alter the effectiveness of either vaccine. 

About the Pharmacist

Ms. Jennifer Hauder RPh

Jennifer Hauder is a registered pharmacist in the state of Illinois. She has over 10 years experience as a pharmacist in the retail and pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) settings. She became a pharmacist due to her interest in healthcare and the opportunity to help others with their healthcare needs. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, three children and two black labs Lucky and Charms.

Recent Questions