What Happens If You Miss The Second Dose Of Shingrix?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses what to do if you miss the second dose of the shingles vaccine Shingrix.

Mar 14, 2018

Daisy asked

What happens if you forget to get the second shot of Shingrix shingles vaccine?


Shingrix is a vaccine indicated for prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) in adults aged 50 years and older. The vaccine should be administered as a intramuscular injection in a 2 dose series.

After the first dose is administered, the second dose should be administered two to six months later. According to the CDC if, by accident, the second dose is administered less than 4 weeks after the first, you should repeat the second dose.

In addition, if more than sixth months has elapsed since the first dose of Shingrix, you should still receive the second dose but do not need to restart the series over.  In other words, if you "miss" the second dose of Shingrix, it is still recommended to get it as soon as possible per the CDC. However, this alternative dosing schedule has not been studied and may result in increased risk for a herpes zoster attack. 

After receiving either dose of the Shingrix vaccine you may experience any of the following side effects:

  • Pain, redness, and swelling at the site of injection
  • Myalgia
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • GI upset
  • Shivering

Information On Herpes Zoster (Shingles):

Herpes Zoster is a viral infection that results from the same virus that causes chicken pox (varicella zoster). This virus lies dormant in your body following the initial chicken pox infection and then may reactivate as shingles. 

Signs and symptoms of shingles can be minor to very severe and include:

  • Tingling 
  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Itching
  • Red Rash
  • Fever
  • Light sensitivity

Many factors can put you at risk for a shingles attack and they include:

  • Being over the age of 50
  • Undergoing radiation or chemotherapy treatments
  • High stress
  • Certain medical conditions that may affect your immune system
  • Taking certain medications including immunosuppressants and steroids


Receiving the Shingrix vaccine may lower your risk for developing shingles. Receiving the vaccine according to the recommended dosing schedule is ideal and offers the best chance at effectiveness. However, according to the CDC, you should still receive the second dose even if outside the normal dosing window of 2 to 6 months. The effectiveness of the vaccine however, may be decreased.

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