Questions & Answers
Shingles - The Vaccine
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  1. Who should NOT receive the shingles vaccine?
    Zostavax is contraindicated in people with a history of anaphylactic reaction to gelatin, neomycin, or any other component of the vaccine; with a history of primary or acquired immunodeficiency states including leukemia, lymphomas of any type, or other malignant neoplasms affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system; with AIDS or other clinical manifestations of infection with human immunodeficiency viruses; and with active untreated tuberculosis. Zoster vaccine is also contraindicated in people on immunosuppressive therapy including high-dose corticosteroids and in women who are or may be pregnant.

  2. What about pregnant or breastfeeding women?
    Zoster vaccine is not recommended for use in women who are pregnant or think that they may be pregnant. Many vaccinations are routinely deferred until after pregnancy. Pregnancy should be avoided for three months after vaccination. Some viruses are excreted in human milk; however, it is not known whether VZV is secreted in human milk. Therefore, because some viruses are secreted in human milk, caution should be exercised if zoster vaccine is administered to a nursing woman.

  3. Sources:

    The Immunization Action Coalition

    Immunization Healthcare Branch