Getting The Shingles And Pneumonia Vaccines Together

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses getting the shingles vaccine (Shingrix) with the pneumonia vaccine (Prevnar/Pneumovax).

Question

Hi, I had a heart attack at the very end of January. So it was recommended that I get the Shingles and Pneumonia shots. I'm 61 and just getting over Bronchitis. Are there side effects after getting the shots; like you don't feel good for a few days? If so, maybe I should get them before school starts. Also, do I need to do something like get one shot one week and another one a few weeks later? Or, wait until so many days after the Bronchitis? Thanks so much. Have a good day!

Asked by School Gal On Jul 29, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Aug 03, 2018

Shingrix (Zoster Vaccine) is the most common vaccine used to prevent the development of herpes zoster, or shingles. 


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. According to the CDC, it is estimated that over 1 million cases of shingles occur each year. There is also another live form of the vaccine called, Zostavax (Live/Attenuated), that is used less often.  


There are two commonly used pneumococcal vaccines, Prevnar13 and Pneumovax23, used to protect against pneumonia.  Prevnar13 protects against 13 common strains of bacteria that cause pneumonia. Pneumovax23 protects against 23 common strains of bacteria that can cause pneumonia. Your doctor or other healthcare provider will help determine which vaccine is best for you.


Shingrix With Prevnar Or Pneumovax

It is safe to get the Shingrix and Prevnar13 or Pneumovax23 vaccines at the same time.  The drug manufacturer of Pneumovax23 recommends that when also getting the Zostavax vaccine, that the doses be separated by 4 weeks.  In regards to getting over bronchitis, you must be recovered from the bronchitis with no active fever.  It is best if you check with your doctor to see if he or she feels it is ok to get the vaccines at this time.  


Common side effects will depend upon which vaccines you receive.  Here are the most common side effects experienced with each vaccine:


Shingrix (Zoster Vaccine)
  • Pain, redness and swelling at injection site
  • Myalgia or muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms


Zostavax (Live/Attenuated)
  • Pain, redness, swelling and itching at injection site
  • Headache 
  • Diarrhea


Prevnar13
  • Pain, swelling and redness at injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Decrease of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Chills


Pneumovax23
  • Pain, redness and soreness at injection site
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Myalgia or muscle pain


In conclusion, you may want to get the vaccines before school starts assuming your doctor considers you recovered from your bronchitis.  This way, if you have some soreness in your arm(s), you will not have to deal with this while at school.  Also, any other possible side effects are usually short lasting and mild for most people.  

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.

About Shingrix

Shingrix is a recombinant vaccine recommended for adults at least 50 years of age and older to prevent shingles and related complications. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that all adults 50 years of age and older and without a contraindication (e.g. an allergy) receive herpes zoster vaccination with (Shingrix), even in those who previously received Zostavax. Shingrix is given as a two shot series, with doses separated by 2 to 6 months. In studies, Shingrix has been shown to maintain its efficacy for longer periods of time when compared to Zostavax. In addition, Shingrix is not a live vaccine, unlike Zostavax.

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