Side effects of the shingles shot include redness, tenderness and pain, itching, and swelling where the injection takes place, according to Mayo Clinic and WebMD. The injection usually takes place at the back of the arm. Some people report getting a headache or a rash that resembles chickenpox. The vaccine consists of a weakened type of herpes virus, called varicella-zoster, which also causes chickenpox.
The shingles vaccine, called Zostavax, is for adults 50 and older, says WebMD. Research shows it is effective about 50 percent of the time in preventing the contagious disease. After vaccination, some people do develop shingles, notes Mayo Clinic. However, getting the shot can lower the intensity and length of a shingles episode. It is the only way to lower the risk of getting shingles, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it may help prevent recurring episodes.
Shingles symptoms manifest in pain and a red rash, explains Mayo Clinic. The nerve pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia. The rash often appears as a band of blisters on the left or right side of the body. While it affects a smaller region of the body, the rash can appear anywhere. People who receive the shingles shot are less likely to have long episodes of nerve pain, which can last for weeks or years, long after the rash disappears.