Doctors and scientists are seeing an increase in the reactivation of the chickenpox virus, known as varicella-zoster virus (VZV), following the COVID-19 injections.
The chickenpox virus is one of the eight herpes viruses known to infect humans. After a person contracts and recovers from chickenpox, the virus never leaves the body but lies dormant in the nervous system for life.
The chickenpox virus will show up as shingles, or herpes zoster (HZ) when it gets reactivated.
Federal health authorities claim that there’s no correlation between COVID-19 injections and shingles, but studies show that there is a higher incidence of shingles in people who’ve received the vaccine.
“To our knowledge, there were no reports of varicella-like skin rash or HZ in the mRNA-based vaccines COVID-19 clinical trials and our case series is the first one to report this observation in patients within a relatively young age range: 36–61, average age 49 ± 11 years,” the authors wrote.
They hoped that publishing the case series would “raise awareness to a potential causal link between COVID-19 vaccination as a trigger of HZ reactivation in relatively young patients with stable AIIRD [autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases].”
“HZ does not often appear after the administration of other kinds of vaccinations,” the researchers wrote. “But we believed that there might be a link between COVID-19 vaccine and HZ emergence.”
“One of the reasons is the short delay of onset after vaccination. The other reason is that these three patients were immunocompetent,” they added.
According to the researchers, the risk of developing shingles was calculated as 0.20 percent for the vaccinated group and 0.11 percent for the unvaccinated, and the “difference was statistically highly significant.”
“Reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus appears to be a potential ADR [adverse drug reaction] to COVID-19 vaccines, at least for mRNA LNP-based formulations,” the authors wrote, adding that “vaccination against COVID-19 seems to potentially raise the risk of precipitating HZ [herpes zoster].”
Regardless of the rise in reports of shingles after the rollout of the COVID-19 shots, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claims that it has not detected any safety signal between the two.
“FDA has not seen a safety signal for shingles/herpes zoster following administration of the approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines,” Abby Capobianco, FDA press officer told The Epoch Times via email last month, adding that the agency “will continue to closely monitor the safety of these vaccines.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also alleges that “there is no current connection” between COVID-19 vaccines and the reactivation of the chickenpox virus.
CDC spokesperson Scott Pauley said that any adverse reactions experienced after receiving a COVID-19 shot are temporary and a positive sign that the vaccine is working.
Adverse Events of Special Interest
Adverse events of special interest (AESI) are side effects—that can be severe or not but can lead to a serious medical condition—that health care practitioners should look out for following vaccination, according to Dr. Jesse Santiano, an emergency room physician and internist.
The list of medical conditions is not specific to only Pfizer, but to all COVID-19 vaccines administered globally. Anyone who’s received a COVID-19 injection and then diagnosed with a disorder on the list—whether months or years after the shot—should make a report to the vaccine maker or Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).
In comparison, a search of herpes zoster and influenza vaccines or shingles vaccine resulted in 1,127 total events in the past three decades and more than 18,000 events in over 15 years, respectively.
The CDC says that VAERS reports do not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the adverse effect.
TreatmentShingles is characterized by a painful, stripe-like rash or small blisters that usually appear on one side of the body or face.
When the rash is in the blister stage, people with shingles can spread the virus to those who have not yet had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine.
It’s not clear what triggers the reactivation of the chickenpox virus, but the most significant risk factor for shingles is an immune system that is weakened or compromised. If your immune system isn’t performing properly, the chickenpox virus can reactivate.
Dr. Keith Berkowitz, an internist, says that shingles usually present as a secondary disease.
“Typically, shingles is never a primary process, it’s usually a secondary process,” Berkowitz told The Epoch Times. “It’s something compromising the immune system leading them to develop shingles.”
Shingles may also be treated with supplements such as lysine, quercetin, and vitamin D (when taken early), according to Berkowitz who prescribes them to his patients.
He says that the ratio of lysine to arginine in a person’s body is particularly important when it comes to shingles.
“The spreading of shingles requires the virus to multiply, and the amino acid arginine that helps the herpes virus replicate. Lysine interferes with arginine and helps prevent herpes from spreading,” Berkowitz said.
As for vitamin D, Berkowitz explains that it “acts as an effect-modifier for the entire herpes zoster spectrum with regard to disease susceptibility, manifestation, the efficacy of pharmacologic management, and emergent complications during treatment.”
Besides lysine, quercetin, and vitamin D, Berkowitz also suggests taking probiotics like lactobacillus to possibly help improve your immune system.
“Probiotics such as lactobacillus may help to treat herpes by boosting your body’s immune system,” Berkowitz said. “Special peptides are found in lactobacillus and are essential in inducing a rapid immune response in your body. Once activated, the immune system can do its job of protecting your body.”
People who are having symptoms of shingles should consult with their doctor about what treatment would best suit them. Those who experience shingles on the face should seek immediate medical attention.