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Herpes Zoster (HZ/Shingles) Vaccine

Zostavax®II (Herpes Zoster Vaccine) protects against the shingles virus.

• This vaccine is only publicly funded (free) for adults aged 65-70 years.
• It is recommended (but not publicly funded) for:

• Adults ≥ 50 years without contraindications - the incidence and severity of Herpes Zoster (HZ) begins to increase with age beyond 50 years.
• Adults with history of HZ disease may have lower recurrence rates following vaccination. For this reason HZ vaccine may be given to those over the age of 50 with a history of HZ disease. Clients should wait at least 1 year between their last episode of shingles, and receiving the vaccine.
• Shingles vaccine should be administered to individuals eligible for the vaccine regardless of whether or not the person has a history of varicella infection. Nearly all Canadians eligible for shingles vaccine will have had prior varicella exposure, even if a diagnosis of varicella cannot be recalled. Therefore, the vaccine should still be offered to individuals to protect against herpes zoster.

• This vaccine significantly reduces the incidence of Hz and PHN (post-herpetic neuralgia) as well as the duration and severity of Hz.
• Research shows that protection following this vaccine remains up to 3 years following immunization.
• At this time there are no other ways to prevent this disease (aside from vaccination). Hand washing and covering the mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing can help reduce the spread of disease.

• There is another shingles vaccine available in Canada, however it is not currently publicly funded (free). Shingrix® is not a live vaccine so it can be given to people who are immunocompromised (from medication or a medical condition). This vaccine costs approximately $150 per dose. 2 doses are required for full protection. For more information about this vaccine, please follow up with your Health Care Provider or local pharmacist.

• The risk of a serious reaction or side effect from this vaccine is much less than the risk of HZ.
• If you experience any side effect worse than what is listed below, please seek medical advice and notify the health unit.


• Pain, swelling and redness where needle was given.
• Fatigue
• Myalgia


• Anaphylaxis

• Adults with a history of HZ Ophthalmicus should only be immunized in consultation with their ophthalmologist.
• Anyone with an allergy to any of the vaccine components or who has had an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to this vaccine.
• Any immunocompromised person – see health care provider for further recommendations.
• Anyone with blood disorders or cancers affecting the bone marrow, blood or lymphatic system.
• Anyone who is pregnant. Women should delay pregnancy 3 months after receiving this vaccine.
• Anyone with active, untreated tuberculosis (TB).
• Anyone who has had another live vaccine in the last 4 weeks.
• Anyone who has active HZ disease. Clients should wait at least 1 year between an episode of HZ and receiving the HZ vaccine
• Anyone who is suffering from severe acute illness.


Also found in…



Porcine gelatin

Lunch meats, frozen desserts

Bovine calf serum


Monosodium L-glutamate

Tomatoes, parmesan cheese

Potassium chloride

Chocolate milk, Yogurt

Potassium phosphate monobasic

Food additive

Sodium chloride

Table salt


Table Sugar

Sodium phosphate dibasic

Laxatives, food additive-emulsifier, leavening agent for baked goods

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