Reduced dementia incidence after varicella zoster vaccination in Wales 2013-2020

Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2022 Apr 13;8(1):e12293. doi: 10.1002/trc2.12293. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: Chronic infection with herpes viruses is a potential contributing factor to the development of dementia. The introduction of nationwide shingles (varicella zoster) vaccination in Wales might therefore be associated with reduced incident dementia.

Methods: We analyzed the association of shingles vaccination with incident dementia in Wales between 2013 and 2020 using retrospectively collected national health data.

Results: Vaccinated individuals were at reduced risk of dementia (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.72; 95% confidence interval: 0.69 to 0.75). The association was not modified by a reduction in shingles diagnosis and was stronger for vascular dementia than for Alzheimer's disease. Vaccination was also associated with a reduction in several other diseases and all-cause mortality.

Discussion: Our study shows a clear association of shingles vaccination with reduced dementia, consistent with other observational cohort studies. The association may reflect selection bias with people choosing to be vaccinated having a higher healthy life expectancy.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; shingles; vaccine; vascular dementia.