Can I safely have another Shingles vaccine?

I have been booked to have a Shingles and a Pneumonia vaccine next week, although I don’t think I can have the two together.  Anyway, according to my own diary notes, I received the Shingles vaccine 5 years ago on 25th October 2017, just under 70 years of age, and at that time I was told I would not need a booster in the future.  Healthwise, nothing has really changed.  I am not immunocompromised and I do not have any current health conditions, to my knowledge, that could make me more vulnerable to a Shingles infection.

I spoke to a receptionist at my GP surgery this morning and she checked my records and said there was no trace on my records that the Shingles vaccine had already been given.  Do I refuse the Shingles vaccine or go ahead and assume after 5 years, a top up dose will do no harm?

Of course I will be guided by my medical team when I go in next week, but I really don’t know what to do and would be grateful for any advice?  More concerning is what has happened to my medical records though?  I remember so clearly having the Shingles vaccine at the same time as receiving an influenza vaccine (in different arms) and the arm discomforts afterwards.  


shingles vaccine

by Tracey_E - 2022-11-08 13:51:14

Very concerning they don't have a record of it! If they don't have a record of it, I guess you don't know which one you got? I got one when I turned 50 (2016) and the next year they came out with a new and improved one. My doctor offered the new one to me, so I would assume from that it's ok to get two. I didn't get it yet, still deciding.

I'm waiting on flu since getting it too early means it won't cover us for the whole flu season. 

Anyone who had chicken pox as a child is at risk for shingles. If you've been around anyone who's had a shingles outbreak, you know you want to avoid it if at all possible. Outbreaks can last months. 


by Julros - 2022-11-08 15:19:17

It really depends on which vaccine you got. The old one, Zostavax, was a single dose and was only about 30-50% effective to prevent shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia. 

The newer one, Shingrix, is 90-97% effective. It is, as Tracey says, a 2 dose series. 

As a nurse who has seen some truly awful shinges rashes, and as someone who had them on my face, close to my eye, I would not hesitate to take the vaccine. I have in fact, recieved 2 doses of Shingrix, resulting in some arm soreness, and small area of rash with shot #2. 


by AgentX86 - 2022-11-08 15:35:59

It's my understanding that if you have had the older vaccine, getting the new on (Shingrix) is a good idea.  If you've already had Shingrix, another (series) won't help.

My wife has had shingles in places one doesn't want shingles but doesn't want the new vaccine either.  She is really sensitive to any vaccine.  The covid vaccines were really bad.  She had Moderna arm both times and was in pain for weeks.

You MUST have had the old vaccine, Zostavax

by IAN MC - 2022-11-08 16:15:43

The improved second vaccine, Shingrix , was not launched in the UK until Ist Sept  2021.  If you received your first jab in Oct 2017 it must have been the inferior Zostavax. ( unless you were involved in a pre-launch clinical trial ...but that would have been very well-documented )

If I were you, I would DEFINITELY go ahead with the 2nd jab, You will end up with a much longer period of shingles immunity.


I will take up the vaccine

by Gemita - 2022-11-08 16:33:19

You have opened my eyes and I have done a few searches and discoveries and I believe too I must have received the Zostavax live vaccine which seemed to be the only available marketed shingles vaccine in the UK around the time I received it in 2017. 

It seems the supply of Shingrix is currently limited and so individuals aged 70-79 years with lower levels of immunosuppression should be offered Zostavax.  Please see link below (for UK members).  The link is long so hope it will open for you.

If I am offered the Shingrix vaccine, I will certainly take this up, but if not, perhaps I should still take up the Zostavax vaccine which will boost immunity.  Thank you all so much, my head is clearer now on how to proceed.

Got it

by Lavender - 2022-11-08 16:50:16

I had the two dose shingrix vaccine in 2021, on advice of my pcp, four months after getting the pacemaker device.

You have to get them spaced apart in a certain time frame. The first dose, my arm was sore for three days but no redness or swelling.  The second dose, I had a sore arm, nausea, eyeball pain and chills.

 I tend to reactions from everything but I'm glad I got it done. My sister suffered with a painful rash when she had shingles. Her son caught it right after she did and also had a painful rash.


Shingles vaccine

by Julros - 2022-11-08 20:53:41

In the USA, Zostavax is no longer available. 


by Gemita - 2022-11-09 01:19:16

From what I am reading, I will probably be given the Zostavax because I am not an immunocompromised patient but perhaps I am wrong.  

What I might do is take up the pneumonia vaccine first on Monday since I cannot have both vaccines at same time and then see what my options are with getting the Shingrix.  

I suppose Zostavax might just be better than nothing after 5 years, particularly if its effectiveness reduces more quickly.  I would hope the NHS wouldn't give it out without it having "some" benefit, or would they?

I will report back on Monday when I discover what they are offering.  Perhaps I will qualify for the Shingrix.


by Gemita - 2022-11-14 14:50:17

I have made an appointment to see my doctor on Friday about getting the new Shingrix vaccine, so I shall post a "new message" afterwards.  I have now received confirmation (from my old GP practice) that I had Zostavax in 2018, not 2017 as I previously mentioned.  It seems my husband only received the Shingles vaccine in 2017.

Be well, my friend

by Lavender - 2022-11-15 08:35:38

Will watch for your follow up post😘🌸

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