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Shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine

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Vaccines offered at Walgreens vary by state, age and health conditions. Talk to your local pharmacist about availability.
Quick facts
Recommended for
Ages 50+ or immunocompromised adults
2 doses 2–6 months apart
(1–2 months apart for immunocompromised adults)

What is shingles?

Shingles (herpes zoster) is a reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox, varicella zoster virus. It causes a painful skin rash that appears as a stripe of blisters. Once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus remains in your body in a dormant or inactive stage. If the virus becomes active again you may get shingles. Age, increased stress and problems with the immune system may increase your chances of getting shingles.

The shingles rash usually occurs on one side of the body, in a line along a nerve pathway. The rash begins as a tingling in the area then forms a cluster of small red spots that often blister. Shingles rashes can last 2–4 weeks, but in some people the nerve pain, also called postherpetic neuralgia, can last for months or even years. For most people, the pain associated with the rash lessens as it heals. Other symptoms of shingles can include fever, headache, chills and upset stomach. In some people, severe complications include pneumonia, blindness, hearing problems, brain inflammation and even death.

You cannot catch shingles from another person with shingles; however, a person who has never had chickenpox or been vaccinated for chickenpox could get chickenpox from someone with shingles.

Shingles is far more common in people ages 50+. At least 1 million people per year in the United States get shingles. 1 in 3 adults will develop shingles in their lifetime. While most people will only get shingles once, a small percentage may get it more than once.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.


Shingrix package insert. Rixenart, Belgium. GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals. July 2021.

Dooling KL, Guo A, Patel M, et al. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:103–108. Web site. opens in a new tab

Gnann JW Jr, Whitley RJ. Clinical practice. Herpes zoster. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(5):340-346. Web site. opens in a new tab

Anderson TC, Masters NB, Guo A, et al. Use of Recombinant Zoster Vaccine in Immunocompromised Adults Aged ≥19 Years: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:80–84. Web site. opens in a new tab