According to the study, it does not increase the risk

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Does the corona vaccine cause the painful skin disease called shingles? Different opinions about possible side effects circulate in specialized circles. However, the new data speaks against a connection.

Bremen: Many doctors had drawn attention to the frequent cases of shingles after corona vaccinations. They had noticed that many of their patients not only developed the skin disease known as shingles after vaccination, but were also remarkably young. Normally, people only get sick at a later age. Recently, however, there has been an increase in cases of shingles in younger people, so they should also be on the lookout for warning signs.

Shingles as a side effect of the corona vaccine: a surprising number of younger patients

According to dermatologist Esther Freeman of Harvard Medical School, the patients had an average age of 46, as reported in the specialized journal. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology wrote. The suspicion that this could be due to vaccination also arose among other scientists. As a result, many people are increasingly concerned about the possibility of developing shingles as a side effect of vaccination. There were also many indications that there was no connection between the vaccination and the skin disease.

A person holds a syringe.
Whether corona vaccination triggers shingles disease is scientifically controversial. A study now denies a connection. © Sebastian Kahnert/dpa/dpa-tmn

All clear: a new study sees no connection between covid vaccination and shingles

A new study of University of California now also gives the go-ahead. Dr. Nisha Acharya’s team concludes that vaccination does not increase the risk of shingles. Treatment data from around two million US citizens was evaluated for the analysis. The objective was to obtain information on the frequency with which people went to the doctor for shingles during the first month after vaccination against covid. The result: as often as usual.

Can the corona vaccine cause shingles? Expert sees no connection

Even experts in this country do not assume that vaccination will trigger shingles. “I don’t see any causal connection,” says Hartmut Hengel, head of the consulting laboratory for varicella-zoster viruses at the Institute of Virology at Freiburg University Hospital. Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

According to experts, the cause of shingles is a weakened immune system, such as a corona infection.

Shingles is caused by the varicella pathogen varicella zoster. Most adults carry the virus because it stays in the body for life. In the nerve cells, the ganglia, it “hibernates” so to speak and often attacks when the immune system is weakened. This is the case for older people or people who are immunocompromised due to cancer treatment. If the pathogens wake up, they migrate along the neural pathways to the skin, where they cause the nasty rash.

In medical circles, many are of the opinion that the disease is more likely to be triggered by a coronavirus infection than by vaccination. Because a Covid disease makes immense demands on the immune system and therefore has many long-term consequences such as Long Covid, Brain Fog or Fatigue Syndrome. A study from the USA was able to show that a corona infection actually increases the risk of shingles.

No increased risk of shingles according to Paul Ehrlich Institute study

The Paul Ehrlich Institute, which is responsible for approving vaccines and drugs, conducted its own study to investigate this question. He came to the conclusion that in Germany there was also no increased risk of shingles in connection with the corona vaccination. Even if the topic has been repeatedly discussed in public since the start of the pandemic.

Theoretically, experts say, a vaccine could be a wake-up call for the chickenpox pathogen.

Henri-Jacques Delecluse, who works with herpes viruses at the German Cancer Research Center, explains in the Sueddeutsche Zeitungthat shingles can also occur in people with an intact immune system if the chickenpox pathogen is brought back to life by a stimulus. In theory, this stimulus could also come from a corona vaccine, since the vaccine activates immune cells through certain receptors, which also play a role in the reactivation of varicella-zoster viruses. If a connection is confirmed, shingles will remain a very rare side effect, the expert emphasizes.

In any case, it is worthwhile for people 60 and younger with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma to get vaccinated against shingles, no matter what the eventual trigger. Vaccination is administered by general practitioners and covered by health insurance companies. If you notice symptoms of shingles, it is advisable to consult a doctor as soon as possible, since treatment with antiviral agents must be carried out within the first 72 hours. In younger people, the disease is often a warning sign that the immune system is weakened. Possible reasons for this may be other illnesses that need to be cleared up medically or stress.

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