Frequently Asked Questions

21. Are there people who should not get the shingles vaccine?

Yes. You should NOT get the shingles vaccine (Zostavax®) if you

  • have an active case of shingles or have pain that continues after the rash is gone
  • have ever had a life-threatening or severe allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of the shingles vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
  • have a weakened immune system because of:
    -- HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system
    -- treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as steroids
    -- cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy
    -- cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.
  • are pregnant or might be pregnant.

To learn more about the vaccine, see "Zostavax: Questions and Answers."