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Q. Are there any issues if I take a shingles vaccination?

Answered by
Dr. Nagaraj Patil
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 16, 2016

Hello doctor,

I am a 33 year old female. I have been getting shingles since I was 6 years old. Until high school, I would get it once a year around the same time. Then, I began getting it twice a year. As I got older, I started getting multiple outbreaks in a year. I have had shingles for 27 years. This year, I had four outbreaks that occurred once in every three months. In the past, my doctor was against vaccinating me because it was not tested on anyone under the age of 50 or 60. With the multiple outbreaks over the past two to three years, we discussed it again and we decided that it might help. Previously, I had taken Famvir and Hydrocodone. Currently, I am continuing the same medicines for shingles outbreak. I had undergone a wellness checkup a few months back and all my laboratory test results were normal. In your opinion, do you think that the vaccination would help me? Are there any concerns or issues about a person of my age getting the shingles vaccine? I am not currently pregnant, but could possibly want another child in a couple years from now. Could the vaccination have any effect on future pregnancy or children? I trust my doctor and know he has my best interest in mind; I just wanted a second opinion as this vaccine has not been tested on anyone in my age group.

Dr. Nagaraj Patil

General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome to

From the history, it is apparent that you are getting frequent recurrences of shingles, which have increased in the recent past.

Shingles occur when your body immune system is low. I am not aware if you are on medication as that may lower your immune system (except for steroids that you are taking for acute attacks).

As your physician rightly said, varicella vaccine is not recommended below the age of 50. Logically, vaccination at this age may provide relief from frequent recurrences, but I do not have enough literature or evidence to support this.

You may go ahead with the vaccination after detailed discussion with your doctor.

The point of caution is to make sure that the vaccination is given when an acute attack is not there and when you are not on steroids or any medicines which considerably reduce body's immune system as it is a live vaccine.

As far as pregnancy is concerned, you can plan the same. But, you may require frequent visits to your obstetrician for close supervision as the effects on the fetus cannot be ruled out.

For further information consult a general practitioner online -->

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