Does Shingles Vaccine Have Side Effects

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Does Shingles Vaccine Have Side Effects ?

No longer do people have to face the painful experience of suffering from shingles, as there is a shingles vaccine available. However, just like another vaccine, even the shingles vaccine has some side effect. But, it is important to note that not all people receiving the vaccine get the side effects. As a matter of fact, majority of people do not show any side effects. In the minority that gets the side effect, the symptoms are minor and go away generally without any treatment.


Before the shingles vaccine was released to the public, many clinical studies and trials were done on it. These studies showed that people who received the vaccination suffered mostly from pain and tenderness at the vaccination site. Some people also complained of redness, swelling, itching, having a warm sensation at the injection site and bruising. And a very small percentage of people complained of having a lump at the vaccination site. Other side effects of shingles vaccine include headaches, respiratory infection, fever, flu-like symptoms, runny nose, diarrhea and pain in the arm or leg.

Just because shingles vaccine has a few side effects, which you cannot be certain of developing, is not a good reason to avoid it. The vaccine is made from a weakened form of chicken pox virus, which also causes shingles. The vaccine helps the body to develop antibodies against the virus and the risk of getting shingles reduces if you are 50 years or older. In fact, studies have shown that by taking shingles vaccine, a person can reduce the risk of getting shingles by at least fifty percent.

Clinical studies have also proven that when shingles vaccine is taken, it can help people who do develop shingles. People suffering from shingles experience something known as post-herpetic neuralgia, which is a very painful nerve pain and can be present from 30 days to a few months. This nerve pain duration is shortened in people, who get shingles even after the vaccine.  

Today, many children are not getting immunized against chicken pox and this makes them not only susceptible to it, but also to shingles. If they come in contact with a person suffering from shingles, these children are at the risk of contracting chicken pox. Hence, the shingles vaccine also prevents the spread of chicken pox and the virus responsible for it.

So, if you have had chicken pox as a child, in all probability the virus is lying dormant in your body and could flare up as shingles. People who are 50 years and older should get shingles vaccine along with those who have an immune system problem. The vaccine is usually given as a single injection.

On the other hand, people suffering from HIV, AIDS, cancer, leukemia, tuberculosis, lymphoma or have an allergy to gelatin should not take the shingles vaccine. Even pregnant women should not take the vaccine. And, if you are planning on starting a family, it is advisable to wait for three months after getting the vaccine before you decide to get pregnant.

While shingles vaccine has side effects, it is also an extremely useful vaccine. Millions of Americans have been exposed to the chicken pox virus during their childhood and this means that there are millions who are at a risk of contracting shingles at any point in their lives, especially as they cross 50. Hence, lives of these people will be made easier and pain-free if they take the vaccine. Otherwise, they would have to bear the painful consequences of shingles. So, before you cast aside this vaccine due to its side effects, spend some time contemplating the pros and cons of getting the vaccine. You will definitely realize the importance of this vaccine.

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