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VERIFY: No, the COVID-19 vaccine does not cause herpes simplex

A study referred to in a New York Post article looks at six cases in Israel where people developed herpes zoster (or shingles) after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

There's a trending question on Google connected to a New York Post article that has the headline: "Herpes infection possibly linked to COVID-19 vaccine, study says."

It got a lot of attention online leading to people to Google for an answer.

THE QUESTION

Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause herpes?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This headline is misleading as the study in the article looked at cases of herpes zoster—or shingles. There's no data that proves the vaccines is the cause of those cases.

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WHAT WE FOUND

The study the New York Post article is referring to is connected to six cases in Israel where people developed herpes zoster after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

Herpes zoster is another name for shingles, not herpes simplex, which is more commonly known as genital (HSV-2) and oral herpes (HSV-1).

"This is something that is preventable to start with," Rutherford said. "It shouldn't be deterring people, and it's not herpes simplex. This is not sexually transmitted herpes."

According to the CDC, as of April 22, 297 cases of shingles have been reported by people who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, it's important to note it can't be proven or verified whether the vaccine was the cause.

"Without a control group, it's hard to know exactly whether this is vaccine-associated or not," Rutherford said.