COVID-19 increases chance of getting shingles; doctors advise getting both vaccines

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FILE – This Saturday, March 6, 2021 file photo shows vials of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the pharmacy of National Jewish Hospital for distribution in east Denver. The European Medicines Agency is meeting Thursday March 11, 2021, to discuss whether Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose coronavirus vaccine should be authorized, a move that would give the European Union a fourth licensed vaccine to try to curb the pandemic amid a stalled inoculation drive. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (WLFA) – With all eyes on the COVID-19 vaccine, there’s another virus doctors are now worried about, especially for people 55 and older.

Physicians say your chances of developing Shingles increases dramatically if you’ve had COVID-19 and are strongly advising people to get the Shingles vaccine.

The topic has certainly been trending lately, and for good reason.

It turns out, if you’ve had COVID-19, you’re at a much higher risk for Shingles, according to local medical experts.

“Covid increases your risk of getting Shingles and the more severe your Covid, the greater the risk of Shingles,” said Dr. John Greene.

Dr. Greene is an infectious diseases expert at Moffitt Cancer Center with more than four decades of experience. He says more and more people are developing Shingles after getting COVID-19 since the body’s immune system is under attack, in grave distress.

“The COVID virus itself increases your risk of getting the Shingles, so it is in your favor to get the vaccine,” Dr. Greene told 8 On Your Side.

Anyone who’s had chicken pox can develop Shingles later in life.

The virus basically lives in your system and remains dormant, until an outbreak triggered by stress and a weakened immune system which is exactly what doctors have reported seeing in COVID patients.

“Anyone over 65 should definitely get the shingles vaccine and they’re even exploring giving it to younger ages, 60 and over, even 55 and over,” said Dr. Greene.

Ask anyone who’s had Shingles, and they’ll tell you, the viral infection ravages the body with extremely painful blisters and tends to linger.

There’s also another dangerous side effect, a potentially deadly one.

“They’ve found out if you’ve had shingles, there’s a higher risk in the next months you could have a stroke because the shingles virus irritates the blood vessels to your brain,” Dr. Greene told 8 On Your Side,

He advises people to get both the COVID vaccine and Shingles vaccine, advising patients to wait at least two weeks between shots.

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