Does The Shingles Vaccine (Shingrix) Contain Egg White?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not turmeric the shingles vaccine Shingrix contains egg white.

May 11, 2018

Doris asked

Does the Shingrix vaccine contain raw egg white?


No vaccine contains egg white. The reason that an egg allergy could be of concern with a vaccine is because of the egg protein that the antigen, or virus, may be cultured in during the manufacturing process. This is true as well for gelatin or yeast cultures respectively.

The Shingrix vaccine is cultured from genetically engineered hamster ovary cells. The media of the culture contains amino acids, with no albumin, antibiotics, or animal protein. The vaccine does not contain preservatives. This means that egg protein was not used to create the Shingrix vaccine, but instead may contain a residual amount of host protein and DNA (genetically engineered hamster cells) from the manufacturing process.

Shingrix Information

Shingrix is a sterile suspension that is injected intramuscular for the prevention of the varicella zoster virus, which causes shingles. Shingrix only contains part of the antigen in the vaccine.

As the body ages it is more susceptible to many viruses, including herpes zoster. This appears to be related to a decline in the immunity to the varicella zoster virus, which is often developed during childhood when having the virus in the form of chicken pox or by receiving the Varicella vaccine. Shingrix has shown to boost a varicella zoster virus specific immune response.

According to clinical trial data common adverse reactions include:

  • Pain
  • Redness and swelling around the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Myalgia
  • Shivering
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea/Vomiting/Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach

All of the adverse reactions were lower in people that were aged 70 or older. The injection site adverse reactions commonly only last 2-3 days. The headache and shivering was reported more frequently after the second dose.

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