Waiting Period Between Shingles Infection And Vaccination: Canada Vs. United States Recommendation

Canadian and United States guidelines have different recommendations regarding the waiting time between an episode of shingles and vaccination.

Sep 09, 2019

Autumn asked

Three months ago I developed shingles on my scalp. Several years before I had The Zostavax. The Shringrix was not available in my area. Upon researching recent shingles infections and Shringrix, I found that Canada recommends you do NOT get the vaccine until about a year after an active case of shingles. I think it has something to do with less efficacy. I wish I could remember where I saw this, I think the Canadian government website. I have asked several local pharmacists and they have no idea...get it right away, wait a couple of months, etc... Have you seen the Canadian information? I have looked for its again and can not locate the site. I cannot even find anything specific from the CDC.

At a glance

  • The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) in the United States doesn't recommend a waiting interval between an active shingles infection and getting the shingles vaccine. They simply recommend to wait until the active infection clears.
  • The NACI [National Advisory Committee on Immunization] in Canada, on the other hand, recommends to wait one year between experiencing an active shingles infection and getting the vaccine.
  • The difference in recommendations is mostly based on the lack of available safety data and questions as to whether or not receiving the vaccination soon after an episode confers a significant added benefit versus waiting.


Shingrix vaccine bottles are a new shingles vaccines

Yes, we have seen the Canadian guidelines for the shingles vaccine and we have discussed it several times in many of our answers.

In fact, we referenced it heavily our answer to this recent question:

You are correct in stating that the Canadian immunization guidelines recommend waiting at least one year from your last episode of shingles to be immunized with the vaccine.

The following is an excerpt from those guidelines:

  1. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. CDC
  2. Herpes Zoster (Shingles) Vaccine: Canadian Immunization Guide. Canada.ca
  3. Updated Recommendations on the Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. Canada.ca
  4. Update on the Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccine. Canada.ca
  5. Herpes zoster vaccine and the incidence of recurrent herpes zoster in an immunocompetent elderly population. PubMed

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