Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"If you have never had chicken pox, will the shingles shot give you chicken pox?"
I am 65 - newly diagnosed as diabetic
I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with you primary care physician to discuss your concerns. Generally speaking, the quick answer to your question is no. Getting the shingles vaccine will not give you chickenpox even if you have never been exposed to chickenpox. The reason for this is that the shingles vaccine as well as the chickenpox vaccine both contain an inactivated virus. This means that the virus is unable to do the things that it would need to do to cause an infection and cause the symptoms of shingles. If you have never had chickenpox, then the chances that you will get shingles is much less. This is because shingles is caused by a reactivation of an infection you had previously in your life. However, if you have never had chickenpox then you are not immune to the virus and thus are more susceptible of getting a primary infection. The chickenpox is a much more severe infection in older adults and thus you should definitely be vaccinated. Again, I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with you primary care physician. He or she can review your past medical history and decide which vaccines you should get at the age of 65. Definitely should consider the shingles vaccine as well as pneumonia vaccine these are both vaccines that are typically given to people your age. In addition your doctor could consider a tetanus booster if indicated.
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