Is there a link between the anti-Covid vaccine and shingles?

Is there a link between the anti-Covid vaccine and shingles?

Good evening, in May 2021, after the booster dose of the anti-SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccination carried out on my left arm, I had shingles on the same arm. After two years I still have burning and pain in my left shoulder and permanent pain in my neck, back and legs. I was diagnosed with post herpetic neuralgia. I also have Parkinson's disease. Is it possible that this condition is connected with the anti-Covid vaccination?

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Dear reader,

the causal relationship between COVID-19 vaccines and the onset of post-herpetic neuralgia or herpes zoster exacerbation has not yet been established, just as there are no epidemiological studies available that have evaluated the actual incidence of these suspected adverse events. However, some cases of post-herpetic neuralgia arising shortly after vaccination are reported in the literature, suggesting a possible link with COVID-19 vaccines.

I had herpes zoster: was it right to get vaccinated?

The cases described in the literature report an onset of symptoms at a variable distance between a few hours and a few days after vaccination. The use of corticosteroids and some antiepileptics such as gabapentin and pregabalin (drugs used in neuropathic pain) appear to have offered benefits in neuropathic pain. However, there are no documented cases of such a long persistence of the problem. Here are some articles that may be helpful:

1. Kanar M. Inactivated COVID-19 vaccine-related herpes zoster and post-herpetic neuralgia: Three case reports. Agri. 2023 Apr;35(2):103-106.

2. Agrawal S, Verma K, Verma I, Gandhi J. Reactivation of Herpes Zoster Virus After COVID-19 Vaccination: Is There Any Association? Cureus. 2022 May 21;14(5):e25195.

3. Chen WP, Chen MH, Shang ST, Kao YH, Wu KA, Chiang WF, Chan JS, Shyu HY, Hsiao PJ. Investigation of Neurological Complications after COVID-19 Vaccination: Report of the Clinical Scenarios and Review of the Literature. Vaccines (Basel). 2023 Feb 13;11(2):425.

*Luca Pasina is responsible for the Laboratory of Clinical Pharmacology and Prescriptive Appropriateness of the Mario Negri Institute


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