Shingles Vaccine

Shingles is a very painful skin rash caused by a virus. It can also include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach. Getting vaccinated against shingles can help protect you from experiencing this severely painful disease.

Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox in the past can get shingles. Children can get shingles, but the risk increases as you get older. Learn more about the shots that are available to prevent this disease.

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What is shingles?

Shingles (“Herpes Zoster” or “Zoster”) is a painful skin rash that can include skin blisters. Rashes usually appear on one side of the body, last around two to four weeks, and can be very painful. Symptoms can also include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach. Sometimes the pain continues even after the rashes go away.

How common is shingles?

Every year, at least 1 million Americans get shingles.

Who should get the shingles shot?

Shingles is more common in people 50 years of age and older. Shingles is caused by the Varicella Zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Only people who have had chickenpox or the chickenpox shot (Varivax) can get shingles.

How many shingles shots do I need?

There are currently two shots that protects against shingles: Shingrix and Zostavax. It is recommended to get two doses of Shingrix, separated by 2 to 6 months, for all healthy adults 50 years of age and older. If you previously got the Zostavax, it is still recommended to get Shingrix.

Where can I get my shingles shot?

For Cal MediConnect and Medi-Cal Members, you can get your shingles shots at your local pharmacy or your doctor’s office.  

For L.A. Care Covered and PASC Members, you can get your shingles shots at your doctor’s office.

How much does the shingles shot cost?

For Cal MediConnect Members, there is a Tier 2 co-pay for shingles shots at your local pharmacy.

For Medi-Cal Members, there is no co-pay for the shingles shot at your local pharmacy.  

For Cal MediConnect, Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered, and PASC Members, if you get your shot at your doctor’s office, you may have an office visit co-pay.

How well does the shingles shot work?

Shingles shots work well, but cannot prevent all cases.

What are possible side effects of the shingles shot?

Side effects are not common, but the shot can cause soreness, redness, and/or swelling. It can also cause headache or fever.

Who should not get the shingles shot?

People who have severe, life-threatening allergies to a shingles shot or any ingredient in the shot should not get the shingles shot. If you have or had shingles, it is recommended to wait until you are better and no longer have symptoms before getting the shingles shot.

Zostavax is not recommended for people with allergies to gelatin or neomycin. It is also not recommended for pregnant women or people with a weakened immune system. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your allergy.

How can I learn more?
Information

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a patient information sheetYou can talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

You can also read more about the shingles vaccines from the CDC.