mRNA vaccine led to shingles in a handful of immunocompromised patients

Electron micrograph of the varicella-zoster  virus. Image courtesy of CDC.

A group of researchers in Israel has concluded that a mRNA-based vaccine could activate herpes zoster (shingles) in a limited number of people with rheumatic diseases.

The viral infection, which can cause a painful rash, is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is also responsible for chickenpox.

In a study focusing on individuals with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases (AIRD), researchers at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa followed 491 patients and 99 controls. A total of six patients with AIIRD, or 1.2%, had a reactivation of herpes zoster after vaccination with the BNT162b2 vaccine from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NSDQ:BNTX).

No patients in the control arm developed shingles in the study published in Rheumatology.

The researchers acknowledged that the st…

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