How Soon After A Shingles Outbreak Can You Get Shingrix?
In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses when you can get vaccinated with Shingrix after an episode of shingles.
I am recovering from an outbreak that had a negative effect on one eye. How can I judge when to start shingrix innoculations?
As long as you not currently experiencing any signs or symptoms of shingles, you should be safe to get the vaccine with minimal risk of recurrence as long as it is recommended by your doctor.
In fact, the risk of an individual experiencing a recurrence of shingles within 12-18 months of an episode is extremely low. The Shingrix vaccine should not increase this risk.
The following is an excerpt from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines:
Herpes zoster can recur. Adults with a history of herpes zoster should receive RZV [Shingrix]. If a patient is experiencing an episode of herpes zoster, vaccination should be delayed until the acute stage of the illness is over and symptoms abate. Studies of safety and immunogenicity of RZV in this population are ongoing.
The overall point is that you can get Shingrix, even if you had shingles before, but only as long as you aren't currently experiencing any signs or symptoms of infection.
While the CDC states there is no waiting period to get Shingrix after experiencing an episode of shingles, other governing bodies have alternative recommendations.
For example, the Canadian Immunization Guide recommends waiting one year after experiencing an episode of shingles to be vaccinated:
For adults ≥50 years of age without contraindications who have had a previous episode of HZ [herpes zoster], immunization with a 2 dose series of RZV [Shingrix] should be offered. Immunization with RZV [Shingrix] may be considered at least one year after the episode of HZ [herpes zoster].
If you live in the United States, it is recommended you follow the CDC guidelines and any recommendation from your doctor regarding vaccination with Shingrix.
Shingles In The Eye Precaution
Since you mentioned that you had experienced herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO), or shingles that affects the eye, I wanted to mention that there have been rare reports of recurrence or exacerbation of symptoms in those who received Zostavax (the 'live' shingles vaccine).
Be sure to talk to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of the Shingrix vaccination in your particular medical situation.
SummaryThere is no waiting period to get Shingrix after an episode of shingles. As long as you are not currently experiencing any signs or symptoms of a shingles infection, you can get the Shingrix vaccine according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).
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