There are two vaccines that are used to lower the risk of shingles. They can also reduce the severity of PHN if you get shingles.

  • Live HSV is advised for people 60 years and older. It is given in a single dose in adults with healthy immune systems.
  • Dead virus is a two shot series. They may be given 2-6 months apart starting at age 50 years old.

The chickenpox vaccine was started for children in the 1980s. It may reduce the chances of them having shingles later in life.


Herpes zoster. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated February 19, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.

NINDS shingles information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: Updated June 27, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.

Shingles. The American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: Accessed July 16, 2018.

Shingles (herpes zoster). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: Updated June 15, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.

Stankus SJ, Dlugopolski M, Packer D. Management of herpes zoster (shingles) and postherpetic neuralgia. Am Fam Physician. 2000;61(8):2437-2444.

Last reviewed May 2018 by James P. Cornell, MD  Last Updated: 7/16/2018