If I had shingles, do I need to get the shingles vaccine?

3 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I want to know if I had shingles once do I need to get vaccinated or am I now immune?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

You are not immune to another shingles outbreak if you have already had one, as the chicken pox virus doesn't not die, but lives inside of you, lying dormant. Therefore, you can have another outbreak at any time. The information I have read recently puts the risk of future outbreaks around 33%. In fact, the longer and more painful the outbreak is, the more likely you are to suffer a recurrence.

I would encourage you to get the vaccine, as this will offer you more protection from future shingles outbreaks.

Community Answers

Linda clever md answered...

This fine question is answered by the Center for Disease Control's section on the shingles vaccine, in the paragraph titled "Who should get the vaccine?" http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/shingles/vacc-need-know.htm[cdc.gov] It is always smart to check with your physician, too, of course, who would know about allergies and so forth. The surprising answer, depending upon you own physician's advice is, "Yes." Anything you can do to prevent shingles is a good idea, since its lingering effects can be even more devastating than the acute phase.

Sheilanne answered...

YES, this information was helpful because I have shingles, and I DID NOT KNOW if getting the vaccine AFTER this episode clears up will help prevent future episodes of shingles. I am glad to know that I can get the vaccine, and hopefully not be at risk of experiencing shingles again. Thank you for this helpful webpage.