Can the Chicken Pox Vaccine Cause Shingles?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

If one gets the chicken pox vaccination, does this make them eligible for shingles in later life, or will it prevent shingles in later life? I would very much appreciate an explanation on this.

Doctor's response

Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the virus that has caused chicken pox in person earlier in life. It reactivates by inflaming the skin and nerve in the distribution of the a particular nerve of sensation.

Because the chicken pox vaccine stimulates the immune system to attack the virus before it can cause the condition, it will prevent chicken pox, and therefore, prevent shingles.

The chicken pox vaccination does not make a person susceptible to shingles at any time of life.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018