Does Shingrix Contain Ingredients Derived From Animals?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses the components of the Shingrix vaccine and whether or not any component is derived from animals.

Jan 05, 2018

mary asked

Does Shingrix contain any bovine product that I might be allergic to? I had a hugely swollen arm after receiving smallpox vaccine. 


Shingrix is the new shingles vaccine and is manufactured by GSK. According to the Center For Disease Control, Shingrix is now the preferred vaccine for the prevention of herpes zoster infections, over the long used Zostavax vaccine, which has been on the market since 2006. The announcement is based on the recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Below, we discuss the ingredients for each shingles vaccine.

Shringrix Ingredient Information

The ingredient list for Shingrix can be found in their package insert. According to representatives at GSK, Shingrix does NOT contain any bovine derived ingredients. In fact, Shingrix is not formulated with any animal-derived proteins.

Each 0.5-mL dose is formulated to contain:

  • 50 mcg of the recombinant gE antigen
  • 50 mcg of MPL
  • 50 mcg of QS-21
  • 20 mg of sucrose (as stabilizer)
  • 4.385 mg of sodium chloride
  • 1 mg of DOPC
  • 0.54 mg of potassium dihydrogen phosphate
  • 0.25 mg of cholesterol
  • 0.160 mg of sodium dihydrogen phosphate dihydrate
  • 0.15 mg of disodium phosphate anhydrous
  • 0.116 mg of dipotassium phosphate
  • 0.08 mg of polysorbate 80.
  • Host cell proteins (≤3.0%)
  • DNA (≤2.1 picograms) from the manufacturing process

Zostavax Ingredient Information

Per the prescribing information for Zostavax, the vaccine does contain bovine-derived components:

"Each dose [of Zostavax] contains .... residual components of MRC-5 cells including DNA and protein; and trace quantities of neomycin and bovine calf serum. "

If you are looking to avoid any animal-derived ingredients, it would be prudent to avoid Zostavax. As discussed above, the new shingles vaccine, Shingrix does not contain animal-derived proteins.

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