HZV is generally well tolerated. In clinical trials, injection site reactions occurred more commonly in HZV recipients than in placebo recipients. PCR testing of VZV from zoster-like rashes occurring in the 42-day period following vaccination are much more likely to be due to wild varicella zoster virus than to the vaccine virus.2
A large safety review of HZV in 193,083 individuals aged 50 years and older supports the pre-licensure clinical trial data. The HZV was found to be safe and well tolerated with no increased risk for the adverse event groupings of cerebrovascular events, cardiovascular events, meningitis, encephalitis, encephalopathy, Ramsay-Hunt syndrome or Bell’s palsy.15 A small increased risk of allergic reactions one to seven days after vaccination was reported.
A post-marketing observational study of 29,000 individuals aged 60 years and older did not identify any safety concerns within 42 days of receiving HZV vaccine.16