National Psoriasis Foundation

Psoriasis and the shingles vaccine

September 27, 2011

Question: I have psoriasis. Can I get the shingles vaccine? If someone I live with is eligible for the vaccine and decides to get it, am I at a higher risk for getting the zoster (shingles) virus?


The shingles vaccine is approved for people ages 60 and over to prevent or decrease the likelihood of developing shingles, also known as herpes zoster. This vaccine can be safely given to healthy adults whose immune system is not suppressed because of a disease or because of a treatment.

Most of the systemic treatments for psoriasis—including methotrexate, cyclosporine, and all of the biologics—suppress the immune system. Therefore, if you are being treated with any of these agents, you should not get the shingles vaccine.

If someone else in your house is eligible for the shingles vaccine and decides to get it, you may be at higher risk for getting chickenpox if you have never had chickenpox before. Pregnant women who have never had chickenpox are at the highest risk of contracting chickenpox from a close contact who has received the shingles vaccine.

Neil J. Korman, M.D., Ph.D.

Neil J. Korman, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Dermatology, Clinical Director
Murdough Family Center for Psoriasis
Case Western Reserve University
University Hospitals of Cleveland
Cleveland, Ohio


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