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Is there a connection between shingles and the COVID-19 vaccine? Experts say no

"There's no relation with the vaccine causing shingles," infectious disease expert Dr. Ambreen Umer said.

YORK, Pa. — Some people have claimed to have shingles flare-ups after being vaccinated for COVID-19.

Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus in the body. It's a viral infection that often manifests as a painful skin rash with blisters.

"It can get reactivated when your body's stressed out for any reason," said Dr. Ambreen Umer, an infectious disease expert with Penn State Health.

And that -- not the COVID-19 vaccine -- is what might be causing the shingles flare-ups, experts say.

"It could just be a coincidence that your body is going through a lot of stress at the time and they get shingles and the vaccine was given at the same time," said Umer. "But there's no relation with the vaccine causing shingles."

The symptoms of shingles can last up to 10 days. Experts say the virus doesn't leave the body, even after a person has recovered from chickenpox.

Kelly Griffin of Mechanicsburg, who got the COVID-19 vaccine, says she's not concerned about shingles. To her, it's more important for people to get vaccinated, she says.

"The only thing I'm worried about is that it's going to add to the reasons why people don't get vaccinated," said Griffin.

However, Ben Fazio from Carlisle, who is not vaccinated, says he's more confident in his decision to avoid the vaccine.

"Right now there's so much different side effects like the shingles and blood clots that I've been hearing all these other stuff that is making people sicker for no reason," he said.

A study conducted in Israel in April found that out of 500 participants, six people between the ages of 36 and 61 experience mild shingles symptoms for the first time after receiving their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

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