Study: Some COVID vaccines may reactivate shingles or herpes zoster

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FILE – In this Jan. 24, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 is shown at a one-day vaccination clinic set up in an Amazon.com facility in Seattle and operated by Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. Pfizer announced Wednesday, March 31, 2021 that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12, a step toward possibly beginning shots in this age group before they head back to school in the fall. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A new study finds a link between COVID vaccine and a skin rash. The Rheumatology journal reports that some patients developed herpes zoster, also known as shingles, after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

Only six people out of the 491 patients in the study experienced the infection, researchers said. They had mild cases.

The viral zoster infection may cause a painful rash. It is most commonly found as a stripe of blisters on the side of your torso. It is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. People with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases have a higher risk of developing the herpes infection.

The CDC estimates that one million cases of herpes zoster occur annually in the United States. Herpes zoster rates are increasing among adults in the United States, especially among younger adults. The increase has been gradual over a long period of time.

The researchers conducting this study say that there appears to be a link between mRNA vaccines, people with autoimmune inflammatory diseases, and the reactivation of the zoster virus. They say that more studies should be conducted to determine the link.

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