It is very easy to get confused when thinking or talking about chicken pox and shingles.
Remembering a few things should help though:
- shingles (herpes zoster) is a reactivation of chicken pox (varicella zoster) – since they are caused by the same virus, you had to have been exposed to the chicken pox virus (varicella zoster virus) to later get shingles
- exposure to the chicken pox virus can come from a natural chicken pox infection or from getting vaccinated against chicken pox, as it is a live, attenuated vaccine (Varivax)
So no, getting the chicken pox vaccine will not prevent you from later getting shingles. The shingles vaccine is a different vaccine that is given to seniors to help prevent them from getting shingles.
Can You Still Get Shingles After Having the Chicken Pox Vaccine?
Have you ever heard of a child vaccinated against chicken pox getting shingles? It can happen. It’s not a vaccine injury.
Remember that you can get shingles at any age – it is not just a disease of senior citizens. Even preschools or teens can get shingles, with the risk increasing with age.
Although the chicken pox vaccine won’t prevent you from getting shingles, it does work well to prevent you from getting chicken pox.
And it is thought that getting vaccinated and protected against chicken pox will decrease your risk of later getting shingles, even before you ever get the shingles vaccine.
“In the early post-varicella vaccination period, incidence rates of medically attended herpes zoster did not increase for the overall population and decreased moderately for children 9 years and younger, the age group targeted for varicella vaccination.”Tanuseputro et al on Population-based incidence of herpes zoster after introduction of a publicly funded varicella vaccination program
No chicken pox and a lower risk of shingles?
I’m glad my kids are fully vaccinated!
More on Shingles and the Chicken Pox Vaccine
- VAXOPEDIA – What to Do If Your Child Is Exposed to Shingles
- VAXOPEDIA – Can the Shingles Vaccine Cause Shingles?
- VAXOPEDIA – Is the Chicken Pox Vaccine Creating a Shingles Epidemic?
- VAXOPEDIA – 10 Myths About Chicken Pox and the Chicken Pox Vaccine
- VAXOPEDIA – Who Dies from Chicken Pox?
- VAXOPEDIA – Where Are the Latest Chickenpox Outbreaks?
- VAXOPEDIA – Believe It or Not, Chicken Pox Parties Are Still a Thing
- Study – Population-based incidence of herpes zoster after introduction of a publicly funded varicella vaccination program.
- Study – Incidence and Clinical Characteristics of Herpes Zoster Among Children in the Varicella Vaccine Era, 2005–2009
- Study – Update on Incidence of Herpes Zoster Among Children and Adolescents After Implementation of Varicella Vaccination, Antelope Valley, CA, 2000 to 2010
- Chicken pox and shingles
- Chickenpox parties?? Natural immunity is NOT better.
- How do chickenpox and shingles differ from each other?
- CDC – Monitoring the Impact of Varicella Vaccination