Only One Shingrix Injection After Zostavax?

The pharmacist discusses whether or not you only need one Shingrix injection if you previously had Zostavax.


Do I need both Shingrix injections if I have received Zostavax previously? Or is only one injection necessary with a previous Zostavax?

Asked by Penny On Jun 26, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jun 26, 2018

No, you still need the two shot series of Shingrix, even if you have already had Zostavax. 

The new recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommend a two shot series of Shingrix, regardless of your dosing history with Zostavax. Although this is certainly a small burden, especially if you just recently received Zostavax, know that based on the data available, Shingrix is more effective in protecting against shingles and efficacy of the vaccine does not decrease nearly as much over time as Zostavax.

We wrote a comprehensive article of the differences betwee Shingrix and Zostavax here: Shingrix Vs. Zostavax: What Is The Difference Between Shingles Vaccines?

It is important to note that Zostavax is still available for certain individuals. Per the Centers For Disease Control:

"Zostavax may still be used to prevent shingles in healthy adults 60 years and older. For example, you could use Zostavax if a person is allergic to Shingrix, prefers Zostavax, or requests immediate vaccination and Shingrix is unavailable."

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Office: 716-389-3076

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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