Personal Training, Fitness and Nutrition Motivation

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

My Serious Adverse Reaction to the New Shingles Shot

Did you know there is an internal form of shingles? It's also called systemic shingles and I have experienced a few outbreaks. No rash is present but you can experience the same symptoms that include:
  • muscle aches
  • chills
  • pain
  • itching and burning
  • numbness and tingling
Most often, these symptoms are severe. Unfortunately, I experience debilitating pain and itching during each outbreak.

Shingles Vaccines

A few years ago, I received Zostavax (the old shingles injection) with little side effects. I was informed last year that the effectiveness of this vaccine had reduced. So, it was recommended I receive the new shingles vaccine - Shingrix.

Shingrix was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 and the preferred shingles vaccine according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals is the manufacturer of Shingrix. The cost is about $280 for the two shots required for full vaccination.

Shingrix differs from Zostavax in that it contains a dead version of the zoster virus. It also contains a substance that causes your immune system to create more antibodies to fight the shingles virus. Because the vaccine is stronger, it comes with harsher side effects. The most common side effects lasting several days include:

Serious Adverse Reaction to Shingrix

Given my shingles history and a positive experience with the old shingles vaccine, I felt comfortable moving forward with my first Shingrix dose injection. Nothing prepared me for what occurred within six minutes of receiving the vaccine.

A few things I am thankful for before moving into my scary experience - my friend was with me and that I followed the instructions to remain in the waiting room for 20 minutes.

The injection experience was typical and went as expected. I have no problem getting shots or having blood tests so not nervous or anxious at all. I was given instructions to sit in the waiting room for 20 minutes and a pamphlet explaining what to expect after having a shingles vaccination.

I returned to the waiting room and picked up the conversation with my girlfriend. I started to feel weird, spacey, and kinda dizzy within minutes of the injection. I noticed my vision was off - like clouds or foggy. I told my girlfriend that something was not right. I could feel my heart racing and weakness over my whole body.

I was taken back to the injection room where a triage of my symptoms began. The clinical staff, nurses, and my physician provided excellent care working with me through this medical crisis. I was one of the rare cases having a serious adverse reaction to Shingrix.

My blood pressure was elevated to dangerous levels and would not come down. I felt even weirder, spacey, dizzy, and my vision was clouded. I could feel my heart beating very hard and felt nauseous. I could feel myself wanting to pass out and extremely weak.

I was connected to ECG machines, oxygen placed, and blood pressure monitored on an ongoing basis. When I could not be stabilized in the doctor's office, my physician made the decision to call for emergency intervention. 

Paramedics along with firemen arrived and quickly began their own clinical triage. I was connected to their medical equipment to monitor my vitals including more ECG strips. My blood pressure continued to be significantly elevated.

I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Blood samples, urine, blood pressure, and heart images were taken. I was monitored for several hours until my blood pressure stabilized. It was an unbelievable and scary experience.

My husband was contacted by my friend and there to support me through this horrible event. I could not appreciate or love him more than that day and into the night.

More Adverse Reactions 

Severe flu symptoms began the next day - extreme body aches, chills, nausea, headache, and general weakness. This was on top of trying to recover from the severe adverse reaction from Shingrix the day before. 

I have never experienced feeling this bad after having a preventative vaccination. Other things that occurred over the following days included vertigo and increased tinnitus (ringing) in my left ear. I was so nauseated and could only eat bland foods like toast and noodles.

I could not perform my regular daily activities for over a week. Sometimes, I can feel short of breathe which is new for me.

I was informed that my ECG strip showed possible heart problem following the Shingrix vaccine and going to my physician to follow-up on this result.

Final Thoughts About Shingrix

The Shingrix vaccine is proven to contain harmful ingredients for my body given this serious event. My physician and ER doctor have strongly advised I don't receive the booster dose recommended.

This doesn't mean I am anti-vaccine because this drug may be helpful to others. However, I don't believe Shingrix has been out long enough to record adverse reaction feedback.

Since my medical crisis, I have researched the Shingrix vaccine and read feedback from other patients who have experienced the same and worse reactions from this injection.

Filing Adverse Reaction Reports

After my serious adverse reaction to Shingrix, I took the time to complete an adverse reaction report with the online Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This information is helpful and provides necessary feedback for medical and governmental organizations about specific drugs.

I also contacted the vaccine manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline to report a possible side effect. 

VAERS acknowledged receipt of my report immediately and let me know it was being processed.

GlaxoSmithKline has yet to provide a return response to my serious adverse reaction report.


If you are planning to have the Shingrix vaccine, especially if this is the initial dose, take someone with you.

Remain at the doctor's office or clinic for at least 20 minutes so you can be helped in case of an adverse reaction.

Prepare not to feel well over the next several days after your Shingrix vaccine. Scheduling a Friday injection would allow you time to recover over the weekend.

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing a researched level article. I checked your blog. There are lots of posts which is under the category in Fitness & health. I appreciate your Effort! Keep it Up!

    1. Thanks for reading and your kind post. Reliable sources and awareness is so important. Be well and Stay Healthy.

  2. I am so sorry you had such a terrible experience. With the age we are reaching, there are multiple vaccine's being suggested and I was considering this one. I will continue to consider, but appreciate this extra bit of information and am sharing with multiple friends of the same age. Thank you!!

    1. Thank you for your kindness. My goal was to bring awareness to this topic and happy I could do that for you and many who may be considering this vaccine. Be well and Stay Healthy.

    2. Glad you got through it Darla. Thanks for sharing!!


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