How long after and outbreak can I get vaccinated for shingles?

A fellow caregiver asked...

I had an outbreak of shingles 11 months ago ... how long do i wait for the vaccination - 1 year after the rash cleared? 2nd Question: Someone i work with has just been diagnosed with shingles and is at work ... can i become infected again from exposure?

Expert Answer

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

Regarding the shingles vaccine, the CDC states that "even if you have had shingles, you can still receive the shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific time that you must wait after having shingles before receiving the shingles vaccine". (see the CDC website for the full text:

Next, regarding the risk of infection from shingles exposure: Shingles is caused by the varicella virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. What happens is after a person gets chickenpox, the virus stays in the body in a inactive state. Years later, the virus can reactivate, causing shingles. Therefore, you cannot get shingles from another person. But, the virus that causes shingles can cause someone who has never had chickenpox to develop chickenpox.

Hope that helps!