What Happens If The Second Dose Of Shingrix Is After 6 Months?

The pharmacist answers our latest question regarding what happens if you don't get the second dose of Shingrix within 6 months.

Dec 08, 2018

Hank asked

I had my first Shingrix on August 8, 2018. It looks like my pharmacist may not have the second dose in time for me to get within the 6 month period. Will this negate the first dose? Will Shingrix be less effective if I do not get within the 6 month period?

At a glance

  • The CDC states that you should not restart the Shingrix vaccine series if you don't receive your second dose within six months. Simply get the second dose as soon as possible. It is unknown whether or not this alters the effectiveness of the vaccine.


As of late 2018, Shingrix has been experiencing a backorder and you may find that your pharmacy/doctor doesn't have the vaccine available when it comes time for your second dose (the second dose is to be given 2 to 6 months after your first dose).

Per the Centers for Disease Control:

"Due to high levels of demand for GSK’s [GlaxoSmithKline[ Shingrix vaccine, providers should anticipate ordering limits and intermittent shipping delays for Shingrix. It is anticipated order limits and shipping delays will continue throughout 2019. GSK increased the US supply available for 2018 and plans to make even more doses available in the US in 2019. Additionally, GSK will continue to release doses to all customer types on a consistent and predictable schedule during 2019."

Due to the shortage of Shingrix, many individuals are worried about what could happen if you don't get the second dose in time (within 6 months of the first dose).

The current recommendation is that you are late in getting your second dose, you should simply get it as soon as possible. You do not need to restart the series.

Missed 2nd Dose Of Shingrix

Unfortunately, there is no data available regarding whether or not getting your second dose more than six months after the first dose makes the vaccine less effective. Nevertheless, having this delay does not negate the first dose you received.

If you are unable to get your second dose within the recommended time frame, the following is recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices:

  • Get the second dose as soon as possible.
  • Do not restart the vaccine series.
  • Do not substitute Zostavax (zoster vaccine live) for the second dose of Shingrix.

If you are having issues finding the second dose, the 'HealthMapVaccine Finder' may be of assistance.

The following is the full recommendation from the CDC:

"Shingrix is the preferred shingles vaccine. You and patients should make every effort to ensure that two doses are administered within the recommended interval. If more than 6 months have elapsed since the first dose, administer the second dose as soon as possible. Do not restart the vaccine series, and do not substitute Zostavax® (zoster vaccine live) for the second dose of Shingrix. If you are out of Shingrix and a patient needs a second dose, the Vaccine Finder may be helpful for patients to locate other providers that have Shingrix."

As stated above, you are not supposed to restart the vaccine series if you can't find your second dose anywhere. While there is no data to say how this affects how well it works, you are still, most likely, at least partially protected.

We answered a similar question recently regarding how well Shingrix works if you only get one dose:

To summarize that article, studies do show a definitive immune response after one dose of Shingrix. Unfortunately, there is no data to indicate how that translates to protection against shingles.

  1. Shingrix Prescribing Information. GSKPro
  2. Shingrix FAQ. CDC

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