Six women in Israel with autoimmune diseases who vaccinated against COVID-19 contracted herpes zoster (shingles), reports Ynet.
This was revealed in a recent study conducted at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and Carmel Hospital in Haifa, in which 491 people suffering from these diseases participated.
Five of the women developed shingles shortly after the first vaccine, and the sixth developed it after the second vaccine. For all of them, this was the first time the disease had been detected. The researchers suspect a link between the appearance of the shingles and the vaccine, but claim this is not a reason to stop vaccinating.
“After the data was published, we were approached by researchers from all over the world who testified that they had encountered similar cases,” says Ichilov Rheumatology Institute Director Prof. Uri Elkayam. “We suspect there is a connection to the vaccine, because the shingles arises when there is suppression of the immune system, and this is related to the activation of an inflammatory substance that has a role in the matter. Pfizer’s vaccine elicits an inflammatory response that may lead to shingles, but this is a theoretical hypothesis.
“It is important for us to raise awareness of the issue, but there is no reason not to give the COVID-19 vaccine to people with autoimmune diseases,” he claimed. “I do not know of any such cases among people who do not have these diseases. Those who have them have a higher tendency to develop shingles as immunosuppressed individuals.”
Shingles is a viral infection from the herpes family that is mainly manifested by the appearance of blisters on the skin and significant pain. Shingles is caused by a virus called varicella zoster, which also causes chickenpox in children. It is dormant in the body, but can awaken many years later, so someone who has had chickenpox in the past may develop shingles.
Recently, a series of studies was published regarding the effect of the COVID-19 vaccine on the immunosuppressed. A study conducted at Beilinson Hospital that examined the effectiveness of the vaccine among lung transplant recipients showed that only 18% of the 168 participants developed antibodies against the virus. According to a study conducted in Laniado Hospital, 96% of dialysis patients developed antibodies after receiving the vaccine, but their level was significantly lower.