Shingles and the chickenpox vaccine

By Andy Stergachis, PhD, BPharm Dec 08, 2020 • 2 min.

When it comes to the link between shingles and chickenpox, there’s quite a bit of confusion. Here you'll find answers to common questions.

Does the shingles vaccine prevent chickenpox?

The shingles vaccine is not approved by the FDA to prevent chickenpox. Because there is an effective chickenpox vaccine already, there is no reason to conduct further tests in order to determine if the shingles vaccine is effective at preventing chickenpox.

Can you get chickenpox from the shingles vaccine?

No, you cannot get chickenpox or shingles from the Shingrix shingles vaccine. Shingrix is a non-live vaccine, meaning it uses a dead version of the virus so it cannot transmit the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles.

Can you get shingles if you had the chickenpox vaccine?

Yes, you can get shingles even if you had the chickenpox vaccine, so it's important to get vaccinated against shingles. Also, immunity declines in older adults, so your risk of shingles and complications increase as you age.

While rare, there have been some reports of the chickenpox vaccine leading to shingles. Shingles results from a reactivation of the virus long after the chickenpox illness has disappeared. People with a weakened immune system are at risk of developing shingles.

Published December 2020.