Herpetic Keratitis Preceded by COVID-19 Vaccination

Vaccines (Basel). 2021 Nov 25;9(12):1394. doi: 10.3390/vaccines9121394.


The global Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated vaccine development at an unprecedented rate. A large population of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, while the vaccine safety data are limited. Here, we reported two cases of herpetic keratitis that occurred soon after receiving the inactivated COVID-19 vaccines. Case 1 was a 60-year-old woman who underwent penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) one year ago for corneal scarring caused by herpes simplex keratitis (HSK), and case 2 was a 51-year-old man with an unremarkable medical history. Both patients developed herpetic keratitis (HSK and varicella-zoster virus corneal endotheliitis, respectively) soon after receiving the inactivated COVID-19 vaccines (Sinovac). Herpetic keratitis was treated successfully with topical or plus oral antiviral ganciclovir. The short latency time in these two cases suggested that an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine may have a risk of triggering ocular herpes virus reactivation. Both clinicians and patients should be aware of this phenomenon. However, a causal relationship awaits confirmation.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccination; herpetic keratitis; inactivated vaccine.

Publication types

  • Case Reports