Shingles Home > Zostavax and Breastfeeding

At this time, no studies have been conducted on Zostavax and breastfeeding. Since the vaccine is only approved for people 50 years old and older, it is not recommended for younger, breastfeeding women. Researchers do not know whether the drug passes through breast milk, so if you are getting vaccinated with Zostavax and breastfeeding (or thinking of breastfeeding), let your healthcare provider know.

Zostavax and Breastfeeding: An Overview

Zostavax® (shingles vaccine) is a vaccine used to prevent shingles. It is approved only for use in people age 50 years and older and is not recommended for women of reproductive age (such as women who are breastfeeding).

Zostavax and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

No studies have been conducted on whether Zostavax passes through breast milk. Zostavax contains a weakened (but still alive) version of the varicella-zoster virus -- the virus that causes chickenpox and shingles. It is not known whether the varicella-zoster virus passes through breast milk. If it does pass through breast milk, it may be possible to infect the breastfed infant with the virus (possibly causing chickenpox).
You should talk with your healthcare provider about Zostavax and breastfeeding. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, you and your healthcare provider can make a shared decision about Zostavax and breastfeeding in your particular situation.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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