Infectious Disease Publications
Herpetic Eye Disease After SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination: A CDC-VAERS Database Analysis. Cornea 2023;Abstract.
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the cases of herpes simplex and zoster ophthalmicus after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and assess the clinical presentations in patients. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) between December 11, 2020, and July 1, 2022. Patients diagnosed with herpes simplex ophthalmicus (HSO) and herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) after vaccination with BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech), mRNA-1273 (Moderna), and Ad26.COV2.S (Janssen) were included in the study. We performed a descriptive analysis of patient demographics, history, and ophthalmic and systemic clinical presentations. The correlations between vaccine type and continuous variables were assessed by the one-way analysis of variance test. In addition, we used the Pearson χ2 test to assess the association between 3 vaccines and categorical variables. A post hoc analysis was performed between HSO and HZO onset intervals after vaccination, dose, and vaccine type. The 30-day risk analysis was also performed for HSO and HZO onset postvaccination using the reverse Kaplan-Meier analysis. RESULTS: A total of 1180 cases of HZO (983, 83.30%) and HSO (180, 15.25%) were reported. The mean age of patients with HZO and HSO was 59.02 ± 19.05 and 52.68 ± 17.83 years, respectively. Most of the cases of HZO (795, 80.87%) and HSO (131, 72.78%) were reported in patients who received BNT162b2. In the cohort, 63.28% and 65.56% diagnosed with HZO and HSO were women. About one third of HZO (36.52%) and HSO (35.56%) cases were reported after the first dose. More than half of the cases of HZO (61.34%) and HSO (64.45%) were reported within the first 2 weeks after vaccination. The estimated crude reporting rate (per million doses) in the United States was 0.25, 0.22, and 0.47 for BNT162b2, mRNA-1273, and Ad26.COV2.S, respectively. The onset interval for HZO was significantly shorter in patients who received BNT162b2 (20.51 ± 56.20 days, P = 0.030) compared with patients who received mRNA-1273 (36.56 ± 108.67 days) and Ad26.COV2.S (39.66 ± 60.15 days) vaccines. The 30-day risk analysis showed a significantly higher risk of HZO after BNT162b2 than the other 2 vaccines (P = 0.011). CONCLUSIONS: The low crude reporting rate suggests that HZO and HSO after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination occur rarely. This study provides insights into the possible temporal association between reported HSO and HZO after SARS-CoV-2 vaccines; however, further investigations are required to delineate the possible underlying immunological mechanisms.