• February 23, 2024

COVID-19 vaccines won’t give you genital herpes

Claiming: Herpes infection could be a rare side effect of the COVID-19 vaccination

The good news in the fight against the coronavirus: new cases of infection continue to decline, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bad news: So are daily vaccinationswhich peaked in mid-April.

Health officials state Some of the delay may correlate with the timing of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination break announced on April 13th but repealed on April 23. Part of this may also be due to ongoing fears related to COVID-19 vaccines.

One such recent claim links the shot to a herpes infection.

“According to a new study, a herpes infection could be a rare side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine,” claims a May 1st Instagram post by The Raging Patriot, an account that advertises as “Real News by Real Patriots”.

These alleged findings were made widespread on social media and referring to a Israeli study published in April in the journal Rheumatology.

USA TODAY contacted The Raging Patriot for comment.

Quoting a scientific report may sound compelling and worrying, especially since many people would associate herpes with the sexually transmitted disease.

“No honey, I haven’t had sex with anyone. It was this goddamn vaccine that gave me herpes!” commented on the post by an Instagram user.

But that’s not the type of herpes referred to here. And that is exactly what the study did not find out.

Herpes zoster infection, not genital herpes

The Israeli study actually looked at whether mRNA vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s shots are safe for people with Autoimmune inflammatory rheumatic diseases (AIIRD) – a group of disorders that affect the joints, bones, muscles, and connective tissues of the body – as clinical studies have excluded this specific group of patients.

The observational study, conducted at Tel Aviv Medical Center and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa, monitored 491 people with AIRD and 99 controls for six weeks after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer.

Six women between the ages of 36 and 61 with stable rheumatic diseases developed herpes zoster infection (or HZ infection). Five cases occurred after the first dose and one after the second.

With the exception of one woman in whom HZ affected the eyes, all five cases were mild and resolved after antiviral treatment.

“We haven’t seen any other cases so far,” said Dr. Victoria Furer, lead author of the report and rheumatologist at Tel Aviv Medical Center. said MedPage Today.

HZ is caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is part of the same family of viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes. But HZ itself does not cause these conditions.

In children, HZ infections lead to chickenpox, a common but highly contagious and communicable disease characterized by itchy, blister-like rashes. according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since the virus is dormant in the nervous system after recovery, it can be reactivated years later, like the six women who all had a history of HZ infection. This reactivation leads to shingles, a condition also characterized by painful rashes that can appear anywhere on the body, although they usually appear as stripes around the upper body. according to the Mayo Clinic.

There have been reports of vaccines causing shingles in the past, Dr. Amesh Adalja from Johns Hopkins University said healthSo the phenomenon is not unknown. It is important to note, however, that the authors of the Israeli report emphasize that the study was not structured to determine whether there was an actual relationship between the COVID-19 vaccine and HZ, as it did not include AIIRD unvaccinated patients were.

“Our report does not establish any causality or a clear connection, but draws attention to a possible connection between the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and herpes zoster,” said Furer said the Associated Press.

In the US there have been no increased reports of shingles after COVID-19 vaccination, said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University told the Associated Press.

“We emphasized the vaccination of older adults,” said Schaffner. “This is exactly the population where shingles is most common, so you would expect some cases of shingles to occur after vaccination … because it will happen anyway.”

Nearly one in three people in the US will develop shingles in their lifetime. The risk increases the older a person gets, and even more so for People with weakened or weakened immune systems like people with cancer, HIV, or taking certain drugs like steroids.

But Adalja said the overall risk of HZ is small, especially for people without autoimmune diseases. And all infections should go away after treatment with antiviral drugs.

Our verdict: lack of context

We rate this claim as MISSING CONTEXT as it could be misleading without additional context. An Israeli study found that the COVID-19 vaccine may be associated with HZ reactivation in some people with immune disorders. However, their results do not show a clear association as the number of cases was small and the study was not designed to determine causality. And the herpes that is being discussed here is not the sexually transmitted disease that many will associate with the term. The varicella zoster virus, which causes herpes zoster and chickenpox in children, does not cause genital herpes or cold sores. The infection is caused by reactivation of the virus in people with childhood illness.

Our sources for verifying facts:

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Our fact-checking is partially supported by a grant from Facebook.

Jack

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