A rare case of shingles after COVID-19 vaccine: is it a possible adverse effect?

Clin Exp Vaccine Res. 2021 May;10(2):198-201. doi: 10.7774/cevr.2021.10.2.198. Epub 2021 May 31.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exhibit mild to moderate symptoms, whereas 15% of COVID-19 cases progress to pneumonia, some associated cutaneous findings are also reported as maculopapular eruptions, morbilliform rashes, urticaria, chickenpox-like lesions, and livedo reticularis. The inactivated COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for use in some countries including Turkey. Here, we report an unusual case of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) reactivation in a 68-year-old male patient who was vaccinated against COVID-19. The patient presented to family medicine clinic with a stinging sensation and pain radiating from the right side of his chest to his back. Physical examination revealed multiple pinheaded vesicular lesions upon an erythematous base occupying an area on his right mammary region and back corresponding to T3-T5 dermatomes. He reported that he got his second dose of COVID-19 vaccine 5 days ago. As COVID 19 decreases the cell-mediated immunity, it could also increase the risk of herpes zoster (HZ). Although the exact reason remains unsolved, vaccine-induced immunomodulation caused by live attenuated vaccines and attenuated alloreactivity caused by inactivated vaccines may be responsible mechanisms for the reactivation of HZ. Epidemiological studies are needed to clarify the possible connection between vaccination and reactivation of herpesvirus infections.

Keywords: Covid-19 virus disease; Herpes zoster virus; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Case Reports