Shingrix for the Shingles Virus

What is the shingles virus?

The varicella zoster virus, also known as the shingles virus, is the same virus that causes the chickenpox.

If you have had chickenpox, and that’s over 90% of adults in Canada, you’re at risk for shingles.

Shingles is a serious disease that commonly results in a very painful, blistering rash. It usually occurs in one part of the body and can last for several weeks. The pain can be severe, disabling and interfere with doing normal day-to day activities.

What are some shingles symptoms?

The varicella zoster virus can result in a painful and blistering rash that can last several weeks.

  • The pain from this virus can be severe, disabling and may interfere with doing normal day-to-day activities including walking, sleeping and social activities.
  • It may also lead to serious complications such as long-lasting nerve pain (also called postherpetic neuralgia or PHN), which can last for months or years.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Burning, numbness, or tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Vision problems/loss of vision
  • Upset stomach
  • Loss of hearing

What does shingles look like?

shingles virus

The SHINGRIX Vaccine

A vaccine that demonstrated over 90% effectiveness in preventing shingles in people 50 years of age and older

SHINGRIX is a vaccine that helps protect adults against shingles (also called herpes zoster).

As we age, the risk of getting shingles increases. SHINGRIX is specially designed for adults 50 years of age and older to help the body build its protection against shingles, regardless of increasing age.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out if SHINGRIX is right for you.

What you need to know about receiving the SHINGRIX vaccine

  • You will receive two SHINGRIX doses, with a gap of 2 to 6 months between doses.
  • The first dose can be given from the age of 50.

When you get your first dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist to schedule your next dose. To maximize the protection offered by SHINGRIX, it is important that you get both doses.

Get the free shingles vaccine

If you’re between 65 and 70 years old, you can get vaccinated free of charge in Ontario.

More information about the varicella zoster virus can be found at:

  • Public Health Agency of Canada. An Advisory Committee Statement (ACS), National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) – Updated Recommendations on the Use of Herpes Zoster Vaccines. Ottawa, Ontario: Public Health Agency of Canada; June 2018. Government of Canada.

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