About ZOSTAVAX

ZOSTAVAX is a live attenuated virus vaccine indicated for prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) in individuals 50 years of age and older. ZOSTAVAX is not indicated for the treatment of zoster or postherpetic neuralgia. ZOSTAVAX should not be used for prevention of primary varicella infection (Chickenpox).

Select Safety Information for ZOSTAVAX® (Zoster Vaccine Live)

Vaccination with ZOSTAVAX does not result in protection of all vaccine recipients.

Do not administer ZOSTAVAX to individuals who are immunodeficient or immunosuppressed due to disease or therapy, as serious or fatal disseminated vaccine strain varicella-zoster virus disease may occur. Causes of immunodeficiency or immunosuppression may include, but are not limited to, primary or acquired immunodeficiency states, AIDS or other clinical manifestations of infection with human immunodeficiency viruses, leukemia, lymphoma or other malignant neoplasms affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, and immunosuppressive therapy.

A reduced immune response to ZOSTAVAX was observed in individuals who received concurrent administration of PNEUMOVAX®23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent) and ZOSTAVAX compared with individuals who received these vaccines 4 weeks apart. Consider administration of the two vaccines separated by at least 4 weeks.

Serious vaccine-related adverse reactions that have occurred following vaccination with ZOSTAVAX include asthma exacerbation and polymyalgia rheumatica. Other serious adverse events reported following vaccination with ZOSTAVAX include cardiovascular events (congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema). Common adverse reactions occurring in ≥1% of vaccinated individuals during clinical trials include injection-site reactions (erythema, pain/tenderness, swelling, hematoma, pruritus, warmth) and headache.

Transmission of vaccine virus may occur between vaccinees and susceptible contacts.

Deferral should be considered in acute illness (for example, in the presence of fever) or in patients with active untreated tuberculosis.

Before administering ZOSTAVAX® (Zoster Vaccine Live), please read the accompanying Prescribing Information. The Patient Information also is available.

1. Insinga RP, Itzler RF, Pellissier JM, et al. The incidence of herpes zoster in a United States administrative database J Gen Intern Med. 2005;20(8):748–753.
2. Data available on request from Merck, Professional Services-DAP, WP1-27, PO Box 4, West Point, PA 19486-0004. Please specify information package VACC-1163180-0015.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prevention of herpes zoster: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2008;57(RR-5):1–30.
4. Johnson RW, Bouhassira D, Kassianos G, et al. The impact of herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia on quality-of-life. BMC Med. 2010;8(37). doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-37.
5. Data available on request from Merck, Professional Services-DAP, WP1-27, PO Box 4, West Point, PA 19486-0004. Please specify information package VACC-1203696-0003.
6. Data available on request from Merck, Professional Services-DAP, WP1-27, PO Box 4, West Point, PA 19486-0004. Please specify information package VACC-1163180-0002.
7. Data available on request from Merck, Professional Services-DAP, WP1-27, PO Box 4, West Point, PA 19486-0004. Please specify information package VACC-1163180-0016.
8. Data available on request from Merck, Professional Services-DAP, WP1-27, PO Box 4, West Point, PA 19486-0004. Please specify information package VACC-1114216-0004.

How to Properly Reconstitute and Administer a Frozen Vaccine

Find out how to best reconstitute and administer frozen vaccines, like ZOSTAVAX, including:

  • Items required before administration
  • How frozen vaccines, like ZOSTAVAX, should be reconstituted
  • Safety and quality control

View more preparation, storage, and handling information for ZOSTAVAX

Read video transcript below

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Video Transcript | How to Properly Reconstitute and Administer a Frozen Vaccine

Voice-Over:

This short video will demonstrate the proper procedure for reconstituting and administering frozen vaccines. For detailed steps on how to properly set up for vaccination, please watch the Preparation for Vaccination video.

Please refer to vaccine prescribing information for specific instructions regarding reconstitution.

Immediately after inspecting the vaccine, reconstitute it. If you allow the vaccine to reach room temperature, the vaccine may lose potency.

To begin, uncap the vaccine. Clean the rubber stopper of the vial with a prepackaged alcohol wipe and allow it to dry. The same procedure should be done with the diluent vial.

Withdraw the entire contents of the diluent provided with the vaccine by Merck into a sterile syringe.

Inject all of the diluent into the vial of the lyophilized vaccine slowly to avoid excessive foaming.

Gently agitate and mix thoroughly.

Inspect the reconstituted vaccine visually for discoloration. Do not administer vaccine if problems are noted.

Withdraw the entire contents of reconstituted vaccine into a syringe and administer immediately.

If not used immediately after reconstitution, refer to vaccine prescribing information for instructions on usage or the need to discard the product. Do not freeze reconstituted vaccine.

Properly dispose of the used syringe and needle or needles.

Be sure to follow your facility's procedures for logging information, including lot number and expiration date.

If you suspect a problem with the vaccine or lot, call the Merck National Service Center at 1-800-NSC-MERCK or 1-800-672-6372, for more information.

About ZOSTAVAX

ZOSTAVAX is a live attenuated virus vaccine indicated for prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) in individuals 50 years of age and older. ZOSTAVAX is not indicated for the treatment of zoster or postherpetic neuralgia. ZOSTAVAX should not be used for prevention of primary varicella infection (Chickenpox).

Select Safety Information for ZOSTAVAX® (Zoster Vaccine Live)

Vaccination with ZOSTAVAX does not result in protection of all vaccine recipients.

Do not administer ZOSTAVAX to individuals who are immunodeficient or immunosuppressed due to disease or therapy, as serious or fatal disseminated vaccine strain varicella-zoster virus disease may occur. Causes of immunodeficiency or immunosuppression may include, but are not limited to, primary or acquired immunodeficiency states, AIDS or other clinical manifestations of infection with human immunodeficiency viruses, leukemia, lymphoma or other malignant neoplasms affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, and immunosuppressive therapy.

A reduced immune response to ZOSTAVAX was observed in individuals who received concurrent administration of PNEUMOVAX®23 (Pneumococcal Vaccine Polyvalent) and ZOSTAVAX compared with individuals who received these vaccines 4 weeks apart. Consider administration of the two vaccines separated by at least 4 weeks.

Serious vaccine-related adverse reactions that have occurred following vaccination with ZOSTAVAX include asthma exacerbation and polymyalgia rheumatica. Other serious adverse events reported following vaccination with ZOSTAVAX include cardiovascular events (congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema). Common adverse reactions occurring in ≥1% of vaccinated individuals during clinical trials include injection-site reactions (erythema, pain/tenderness, swelling, hematoma, pruritus, warmth) and headache.

Transmission of vaccine virus may occur between vaccinees and susceptible contacts.

Deferral should be considered in acute illness (for example, in the presence of fever) or in patients with active untreated tuberculosis.

Before administering ZOSTAVAX® (Zoster Vaccine Live), please read the accompanying Prescribing Information. The Patient Information also is available.

US-CIN-00008 05/19