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What questions should I ask my doctor about the Shingles vaccine?


NVIC’s If You Vaccinate, Ask 8! Webpage and downloadable brochure suggests asking eight questions before you make a vaccination decision for yourself, or for your child. If you review these questions before your appointment, you will be better prepared to ask your doctor questions. Also make sure that the nurse or doctor gives you the relevant Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) for the vaccine or vaccines you are considering well ahead of time to allow you to review it before you or your child gets vaccinated. Copies of the VIS for each vaccine are also available on the CDC's website and there is a link to the shingles VIS in NVIC’s shingles “Quick Facts” section. 

It is also a good idea to read the vaccine manufacturer product insert that can be obtained from your doctor or public health clinic because federal law requires drug companies marketing vaccines to include certain kinds of vaccine benefit, risk and use information in product information inserts that may not be available in other published information. NVIC also provides this information in our shingles Quick Facts section.

Other questions that may be useful to discuss with your doctor before getting the shingles vaccine are:

  • If other vaccines in addition to shingles vaccine are scheduled at this office visit, am I allowed to modify the schedule so fewer vaccines are given at once?
  • What should I do if I have a high fever or get very ill after vaccination?
  • What other kinds of reaction symptoms should I call to report after shingles vaccination?
  • If the shingles vaccine doesn’t protect me, do I have any other options for preventing shingles infection?

While shingles vaccines are not covered under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 and not eligible for federal vaccine injury compensation, doctors and all vaccine providers should provide you with risk and benefit information on shingles and shingles vaccine before vaccination. They should also record serious health problems following vaccination in the permanent medical record; keep a permanent record of all vaccines given, including the manufacturer’s name and lot number; and report serious health problems, injuries and deaths that follow vaccination to VAERS and you have a right to receive that same information from all vaccine providers.

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Shingles and the Shingles vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents , which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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