Shingles Vaccine.

Good Morning,

I wonder if you can offer me any advice. I have recently seen on the television that the shingles vaccine is now being offered to people over 50 who are immunosuppressed.

I am in my early 50s and have RA. I am taking Hydroxychloroquine tablets and have Tocilizumab Infusions every 4 weeks.

I was told a few years ago that I should not have the shingles vaccine, I think because it is a live vaccine, due to the fact that I was taking immunosuppressant medication.

I therefore wondered if you have any information and advice as to whether it is safe to have the vaccine when I am on immunosuppressant medication.

Thank you very much.

Kind Regards.


  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 609

    Hi @Becky88

    There's a discuss on this from a few days ago

    The shingrix vaccine isn't a live vaccine and is suitable for many people with a weakened immune system.

  • Becky88
    Becky88 Member Posts: 91

    Thank you very much, Jamie A.

  • Hi @Becky88 thank you for posting on the Online Community and for your enquiry about the Shingles vaccine for people over 50 who are immunosuppressed. Jamie A has given a helpful link. Sometimes the guidance given can be confusing and everyone's individual clinical circumstances are unique. We would advise you to contact your rheumatology team to check what is right for you. The rheumatology nurse helpline can usually be contacted between clinic appointments. you can also discuss this with your GP.

    According to our website information, the Zostavax shingles vaccine is a live vaccine and isn’t recommended for people who are on tocilizumab. However, a non-live shingles vaccine (Shingrix) is available so you may be able to have this instead. Our information says you can have vaccinations, including live vaccines such as yellow fever and shingles, while you're on hydroxychloroquine. Best to check with your healthcare professional.

    I hope the information given below will be of some help.

    If you would like to talk things through informally and in confidence about your arthritis, you are welcome to call our Free Helpline on 0800 5200 520 weekdays 9am - 6pm.

    If you would like to have more replies to your post, you are welcome to repost on our Living with Arthritis forum which is another source of support to ask questions and share experiences with others facing similar challenges.

    Best wishes,

    Fiona, Helpline Advisor 

  • Becky88
    Becky88 Member Posts: 91

    Thank you very much Fiona. Your help is much appreciated.