Pfizer vaccine side effects: Six cases of shingles reported in latest research

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A medical research team from Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, Isreal, found people with certain underlying health conditions were more likely to develop the skin rash. Dr Victoria Furer, a rheumatologist involved in the study, said: “We can say [the Pfizer vaccine] might be a trigger in some patients.” The trial consisted of 590 patients receiving the Pfizer Covid vaccines, where 491 of them were diagnosed with autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases.

Autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases

This includes:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic scleorosis
  • Mixed connective tissue disease

All these conditions result in the immune system mistakenly attacking a person’s bones, joints, muscles or organs.

Common symptoms include: muscle aches, fatigue, swelling and redness of the skin covering the joints, and numbness of the hands and feet.

The remaining 99 people were considered “controls”, meaning they didn’t have an autoimmune condition.

Out of everyone involved in the trial (491 people), six of them – who were immunocompromised – developed shingles.

Five people contracted shingles after the initial Pfizer dose, while another developed the infection after the final Covid dose.

In comparison, no one in the control group who was given the vaccine developed shingles.

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Dr Furer suggested “there is some association” between developing shingles after the Pfizer vaccine if you are immunocompromised.

However, a larger study is needed to confirm the findings, but Dr Furer wants people “to be aware” of the risk.

One suggestion is to get vaccinated against shingles before having a Covid vaccine.

“We should not scare people,” Dr Furer said. “The overall message is to get vaccinated.”

What is shingles?

The NHS explained: “Shingles is an infection that causes a painful rash. Get advice from 111 as soon as possible if you think you have it.”

The first warning signs of shingles include a “tingling or painful feeling” in an area of skin.

Another early indicator of the infection includes a headache and generally feeling unwell.

The tell-tale sign of shingles is a rash, which will develop a few days later.

Shingles most commonly appear on the chest and tummy, but it can appear on your face, eyes, and genitals.

It’s distinctive from other types of rashes, as the red blotches appear only on one side of the body.

The blotches then turn into itchy blisters that ooze fluid, which can dry out and scab over with time.

Shingles can also make your eyes red and sore; it might affect your sight or hearing, or make it difficulty to move one side of your face.

It can take up to one month for the rash to heal, but pain can persist for even longer.

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