Association of COVID-19 vaccination with herpes zoster: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Expert Rev Vaccines. 2022 May;21(5):601-608. doi: 10.1080/14760584.2022.2036128. Epub 2022 Feb 7.


Background: Following COVID-19 vaccination, several herpes zoster cases have been reported, making it critical to explore the association between herpes zoster and COVID-19 vaccination. This is especially true in the context of increasing the number of participants enrolled to receive COVID-19 vaccination.

Research design and methods: Three databases, including the Cochrane Library, PubMed, and EMBASE, were searched for relevant studies before 25 December 2021 according to preliminarily determined inclusion and exclusion criteria without any language limitations. Four cohort studies were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis.

Results: Compared with the placebo group, there was no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccination group was associated with increased incidence of herpes zoster (Risk ratio [RR]: 1.06; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.91 to 1.24). There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccination from Moderna is associated with the incidence of herpes zoster compared with vaccination from Pfizer (RR: 0.20; 95% CI: 0.01 to 2.99).

Conclusions: To date, there is no evidence of an association between covid-19 vaccination and herpes zoster.

Keywords: COVID-19; herpes zoster; meta-analysis; vaccination.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines / adverse effects
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Herpes Zoster Vaccine* / adverse effects
  • Herpes Zoster* / epidemiology
  • Herpes Zoster* / prevention & control
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human
  • Humans
  • Vaccination


  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Herpes Zoster Vaccine