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Receiving Zostavax Safely

When and How to Take It

General considerations for when and how to take Zostavax include the following:
  • The medication is given as a single injection, just under the skin of the upper arm.
  • It does not matter if you receive your injection on a full or empty stomach.
  • Zostavax has been studied to help prevent shingles for up to four years. At this time, it is not known if "booster" vaccines will be necessary.
  • If your healthcare provider recommends it, you may get your flu vaccine at the same visit.
  • Let your healthcare provider know if you are sick or not feeling well before the vaccine, as it may be best to postpone it until you are feeling better.

Dosing Information

There is only one standard way to dose Zostavax, regardless of your age, weight, or medical conditions.
As always, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
(Click Zostavax Dosage for more information.)

Side Effects of Zostavax

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Zostavax. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects include but are not limited to:
  • Injection site reactions, such as redness, pain, swelling, bruising, or itching
  • Headaches.
(Click Zostavax Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
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