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Vaccination Services

Shingles Vaccination ‘Shingrix’

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Why Shingles Vaccination ‘Shingrix’?

Shingles Vaccination ‘Shingrix’

Shingrix is the new shingles vaccine that is now available in Hong Kong. Shingles vaccination is the only way to protect against shingles and the painful complication called post herpetic neuralgia. All healthy adults aged 50 and over should get the vaccination. Individual should take the second dose 2 to 6 months after the first dose to prevent shingles disease and its complications.

Two doses of Shingrix is more than 90% effective at preventing shingles and post herpetic neuralgia.1

What are the symptoms of Shingles?

A rash appears which is made up of a cluster of small blisters which can break open and then dry up. Symptoms  commonly appear on the chest or stomach but other areas such as face and eyes can also be affected.

The affected area can be sensitive to touch, be painful, burn, itch or tingle. Pain is usually the first sign and can in some cases be very intense. You should see a doctor as soon as possible as medication can reduce the severity of the symptoms and prevent complications. A person with shingles can pass on the virus to someone who has never had chickenpox.

Who should get Shingrix?

All healthy adults aged 50 or above. You should get Shingrix even if:

- had shingles

- received the other shingles vaccine ‘Zostavax’

- are not sure if you had chickenpox in the past

There is no maximum age limit for the Shingrix vaccine. If you had shingles in the past, you can get Shingrix to help prevent future recurrences of shingles.

You can get Shingrix whether or not you remember having had chickenpox in the past. In case you wish to know your immune status , you can have a blood test to look for antibodies indicating past infection.

Chickenpox and shingles are both caused by the same virus-varicella zoster. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays dormant (inactive) in the body. It can reactivate years later and cause shingles.

Who should not get Shingrix?

You should not get Shingrix if you:

- have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of Shingrix or to any component of the vaccine

- tested negative for chickenpox immunity, then you should get the chickenpox vaccine

- currently have active shingles

- currently breastfeeding or pregnant

How effective is Shingrix?2

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two doses of Shingrix provides strong protection against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), the most common complication of shingles.

  • In adults 50 to 69 years old who got two doses, Shingrix was 97% effective in preventing shingles; among adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 91% effective.
  • In adults 50 to 69 years old who got two doses, Shingrix was 91% effective in preventing PHN; among adults 70 years and older, Shingrix was 89% effective.

Shingrix protection remained high (more than 85%) in people 70 years and older throughout the four years following vaccination. Since your risk of shingles and PHN increases as you get older, it is important to have strong protection against shingles in your older years.

What are the possible side effects of Shingrix?

A sore arm with mild or moderate pain is very common after recombinant shingles vaccine, affecting about 80% of vaccinated people.

Redness and swelling can also happen at the site of the injection.

Tiredness, muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea happen after vaccination in more than half of people who receive recombinant shingles vaccine.

In clinical trials, about 1 out of 6 people who got recombinant zoster vaccine experienced side effects that prevented them from doing regular activities. Symptoms usually went away on their own in 2 to 3 days.

You should still get the second dose of recombinant zoster vaccine even if you had one of these reactions after the first dose.

As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction.


1,2 Shingles Vaccination - What Everyone Should Know about the Shingles Vaccine (Shingrix), Website of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,, accessed on 12 April 2022.


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