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COVID-19 vaccine and shingles

Can the COVID-19 vaccine reactivate shingles? Research says it could be possible, but it’s not common.

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Shingles is a common condition that is characterized by a rash. Some studies suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine can reactivate the shingles virus.


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What is shingles?

VZV is the virus known to cause chicken pox. It is a viral infection that derives from the reactivation of VZV. More information is linked here.

After chicken pox, the virus lays dormant in nerve cells. When triggered the virus reactivates and causes a rash known as shingles.

Shingles rashes usually show up in clusters and affect only one side of the body. Burning or tingling with an itchy or painful rash is the top symptom.


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Is there a link between the COVID-19 vaccine and shingles?

There have been several reports of people experiencing shingles flare-up after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.  The evidence cannot find a definitive link between the two.

It is possible that the immune response to the vaccine might trigger a flare. Some think it is just a coincidence. Stress may be a factor as well.

More research is necessary to further investigate their connection.

It is important to clarify that the COVID-19 vaccine does not cause shingles.  If the two are found to be related, it will only occur in people with dormant VZV.


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