Researchers Are Looking Into Herpes Zoster As Possible Vaccine Side Effect

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Elizabeth Weibel Contributor
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A recent study published on Apr. 12 has found that a possible side effect of the coronavirus vaccines might be linked to herpes zoster.

The study done by researchers from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, Israel showed that patients who had been diagnosed with an autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic disease (AIRD) were more likely to contract herpes zoster, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Herpes zoster, also known as shingles, is a red, itchy, and painful rash that can cause nerve damage and additional pain if not treated, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The research done by the hospital’s Department of Rheumatology was carried out on 491 patients with AIRD, and 99 patients who were controls. Out of the 491 people, six people, or roughly 1.2%, ended up with herpes zoster while none of the controls ended up developing herpes zoster, according to the research.

Though herpes zoster usually affects people ages 50 and over, the six patients were young and contracted mild cases of herpes zoster.

“We cannot say the vaccine is the cause at this point,” explained Dr. Victoria Furer, the lead researcher for the Department of Rheumatology. “We can say it might be a trigger in some patients.” (RELATED: Coronavirus Cases Are Surging In Chile Even Though It Has One Of The Highest Vaccination Rates In World)

“It seems that the reason is that there is some association,” said Furer, noting that she has received messages from several people sharing their own experiences of contracting herpes zoster after having the vaccine.

“We should not scare people, “she added. “The overall message is to get vaccinated. It is just important to be aware.”

This comes following the announcement from the Biden Administration that distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be paused after six out of the seven million Americans who had received the vaccine developed blood clots.