Herpes Zoster vaccine

What is Herpes Zoster?

             Herpes Zoster (Shingles) causes by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays inactive in the body. If your body and immune system are weak, the virus can travel through the nerves to the skin, causing a painful rash.

What is the complication from Herpes Zoster?

              The most common complication of shingles is a condition called post herpetic neuralgia (PHN). People with PHN have severe pain in the areas where they had the shingles rash, even after the rash cleared up. The pain from PHN may be severe and debilitating, but it usually resolves in a few weeks or months. Some people can have pain from PHN for many years and it can interfere with daily life.

What about the transmission of Herpes Zoster?

              Herpes Zoster is a communicable disease as the blisters that form contain fluid with the chickenpox virus. Herpes Zoster can occur in young people, but some people are at greater risk than others such as people who have age of 50 and above or has compromised immune system.

How to prevent Herpes Zoster?

              Herpes Zoster can prevent by making yourself healthy. And currently, vaccination for Herpes Zoster prevention is available. You can consult with your healthcare professionals about Herpes Zoster vaccination.

What is Herpes Zoster vaccine?

              There is only one type of herpes zoster vaccine available in Thailand which is a lyophilized preparation of the Oka/Merck strain of live, attenuated varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Dose of vaccine is A single 0.65-mL dose subcutaneously.

              From randomized controlled trial study in 2014 showed that efficacy for prevention of herpes zoster is 69.8% and efficacy for prevention of PHN is 66.5%. The fully effect of vaccine is 4 weeks after getting a shot and it may last long for 10 years. Now, there is no data available about booster dose of this vaccine.

Who should get herpes zoster vaccine?

              All adults 50 years of age and older, especially who are above 60 years old. Even they are not having chickenpox before, which is caused by the same virus.

              You should come to consult with your healthcare professionals because herpes zoster vaccine may have some limitations. For example,
  • People who have history of anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reaction to gelatin, neomycin or any other components of the vaccine,
  • Pregnant women
  • People who are immunodeficient or immunosuppressed due to disease or therapy such as primary or acquired immunodeficiency states, AIDS or other clinical manifestations of infection with human immunodeficiency viruses, leukemia, lymphoma or other malignant neoplasms affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, and immunosuppressive therapy.

What is the possible side effects of herpes zoster vaccine?

              The most frequent adverse reactions, reported in ≥ 1% are headache and pain at Injection-site reactions.
              If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Drug Information Service, Bumrungrad International hospital (available 24 hours).


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles (Herpes Zoster). Available from:  [Assessed 28 March 2019].
  2. Zostavax® [package insert]. USA: Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc; 2014.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles (Herpes Zoster). Available from: [Assessed 4 May 2019].
  4. Hales, Craig M., et al. "Update on recommendations for use of herpes zoster vaccine." MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 63.33 (2014): 729.

 Contact information: Drug Information Service. Bumrungrad international hospital.
Tel: +66(0) 2 011 3399 Email: [email protected]
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