The following is an excerpt from The Vaccine Reaction.
A large retrospective cohort study conducted by researchers in Germany and the University of Virginia compared the incidence of shingles among individuals who did and did not get a Covid-19 shot and found a statistically significant difference providing evidence for an association between Covid vaccinations and increased risk for developing shingles or herpes zoster (HZ).
The authors pointed out that “an association of HZ with Covid vaccination has been reported worldwide” and concluded that “the eruption of HZ may be a rare adverse reaction to Covid shots,” noting that varicella zoster (VZ), or chickenpox, reactivation is a well-established phenomenon both with infections and with other vaccines.”
Shingles is caused by the HZ virus and appears as a blistering, painful rash that occurs when VZ, the virus that causes chicken pox, is reactivated and moves to the nerves of the skin, where it produces the painful shingles rash. Like other herpes viruses, VZ lays dormant in the nervous system until it is reactivated.
Certain events can trigger the onset of shingles, including the natural decline of immunity that comes with age, stress, drugs and vaccines.
Recently, there have been wide-spread reports of VZ virus reactivating after receiving a Covid shot, especially with messenger RNA (mRNA) technology such as Pfizer/BioNTech’s Comirnaty and Moderna/NIAID’s Spikevax biologics.
Some experts have speculated that the link between the reactivation of varicella zoster and Covid shots could be due to the changes in immune system function after vaccination.
Risk factors for getting shingles include being older, undergoing severe stress and a weakened immune system.
Study Included Millions of People Who Did and Did Not Get Covid Shots
The study looked at real world data of 1,095,086 people, who received a Covid shot compared to 16,966,018 people who did not get the shot and visited a clinic within the TriNetX Global Health Research Network database.
The Network database aggregates data from multiple healthcare centers across 19 countries and the subjects were matched for age and gender.
The vaccinated group visited the clinic for the purpose of being vaccinated, while the unvaccinated group went to the clinic for another reason.
Study results revealed that the vaccinated group had a 20 percent chance of coming down with shingles post Covid vaccination while the unvaccinated group had 11 percent odds of developing the painful virus within 60 days of visiting the clinic.
The study authors concluded that the difference was statistically highly significant.
The authors wrote:
Consistent with the hypothesis, a higher incidence of HZ was statistically detectable post-Covid-19 vaccine. Accordingly, the eruption of HZ may be a rare adverse drug reaction to Covid-19 vaccines.
Another Study Indicates Shingles May be a Side Effect of COVID Shots
A study published by Israeli researchers in 2021 in the British Society of Rheumatology showed that shingles could be a side effect of Covid shots. The observational study evaluated adverse events following Covid vaccination in subjects suffering from autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic disease (AIIRD) and compared 491 patients with AIIRD to 99 control subjects, all of whom received a Covid shot in two rheumatology departments in Israel.
In the AIIRS group, six female subjects developed shingles post vaccination (1.2 percent) compared to zero subjects developing shingles in the control group.
Five of the six women came down with shingles after a first Covid shot and one after the second dose.
All shingles cases were mild and resolved within six weeks.
Immune System Depression Post Vaccination May Set Stage for Reactivation of Varicella Virus
A May 2022 study looked at 10 case studies of shingles that occurred one to three weeks after Covid vaccination.
The authors speculated that, similar to Covid infections, transient immunomodulation following vaccination could result in reactivation of the HZ virus.
More specifically, they proposed that lowered counts of CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, and natural killer cells could set the stage for reactivation of HZ and development of shingles.
The study authors noted that reactivation of the herpes virus is a rare complication of other vaccines, most notably influenza, hepatitis A, rabies, Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever vaccines and that, while research is limited so far, the COVID shots can likely be added to this list. They warned:
Vaccination initiatives for Covid-19 are in full swing. Given the large number of people who will be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, a possible causal link could result in a large number of cases among the elderly, with devastating consequences.
Post-marketing surveillance procedures must be in place, and ongoing vaccination safety assessments are critical for detecting any occurrence that could reduce the projected benefits and, as a result, taking obligatory action to reduce hazards amongst vaccinated people…Our findings necessitate a further investigation of the possible relationship between Covid-19 and herpes zoster in the context of vaccinating elderly and/or immunocompromised people.
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