Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body in a dormant (inactive) state Shingles (herpes zoster) is a painful skin rash that develops on one side of the face or body. Shingles vaccine reduces the risk of developing shingles and the long-term pain that can follow. Your risk of shingles and long-term pain from the disease increases as you age.
People 60 years old and older should get shingles vaccine to prevent the disease, regardless of whether they recall having had chickenpox. This is a one-time vaccination. There is no maximum age for getting the shingles vaccine.
Even if you have had shingles, you can still receive the shingles vaccine to help prevent future occurrences of the disease. There is no specific time that you must wait after having shingles before receiving the shingles vaccine.
Protection from the shingles vaccine lasts about 5 years. In adults vaccinated at age 60 years or older, protection from the vaccine decreases within the first 5 years after vaccination.
People with weakened immune systems have an increased risk of developing shingles. For example, people with certain cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and people who have undergone a bone marrow or organ transplantation, or who take immunosuppressive drugs.
People who develop shingles typically have only one episode in their lifetime. In rare cases, however, a person can have a second or even a third episode.