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Covid vaccine and outbreaks

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Hi everyone,


I know this topic has been discussed before but has anyone else had any more updates on outbreaks after any of the covid vaccines?


I have not had an outbreak for almost a year (since my initial one) and I take valetrex 500 mg prophylactically every day. My first outbreak was horrifying—it caused urinary retention and constipation which required having to be hospitalized and catheterized. I lost all control of the ability to urinate on my own for 2 months. I never want to go through that again, which is why I take the antiviral daily. 


I’m now being forced to get one of the vaccines in order to stay in grad school. I’m absolutely scared to death that if I get one, the immune response is going to trigger an outbreak. Prior to getting diagnosed with HSV2, I would have easily gotten the vaccine in a heartbeat. Now I have this immense fear of having this outbreak that absolutely destroyed my life, my job, my self esteem and caused a deep spiraling depression that took 6 months to climb out of. Most doctors brush off my concerns that an outbreak either has “such a small chance of happening” or tell me that wouldn’t I “rather have an outbreak than Covid?” The answer is no, in fact. I would take Covid 10x than ever have to go through that horrific outbreak from HSV2. 

Does anyone have any information on their experience with:





Thank you so much in advance!

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I am so sorry to hear about your terrible experience with the first vaccine. I cannot even imagine the pain and suffering you experienced. That is just terrible! 😢 I hope you are feeling better now! 

I got my first Pfizer vaccine in April and the second in May. The second one really made me feel not great, but it went away in a few days. 

Yes, many colleges and universities require the vaccine, and as a college student, I reccomend it. I look around my University and some people really don't have the best consideration for keeping others safe. It's great you have the first vaccine, and hopefully because you already got that one, your body has built up some antibodies to help your body cope with the next vaccine. Granted, I'm no doctor or virologist! 

What I would do is have a game plan for if you get the second shot. For example, you are already taking suppressive antivirals, which is great. The doctor could give you a stool softener if the second shot causes bowel issues, and write a doctor's note in case you would have to miss any classes. Hopefully, you wouldn't need to use any of these, but it's better to have these than not! ☺️

I hope this helps!! Stay well!! 

Sending blessings of health and happiness your way 🌄

-- Grace


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Thank you both for your responses, but I just wanted to clarify—I have not gotten ANY vaccine yet. The urinary retention and constipation I experienced during the first outbreak was not a matter of not eating enough fiber/something I had control over. The HSV 2 virus attacks the sacral ganglion nerves and this is well documented. Any time you have sudden urinary retention with no other cause, it’s because of something going wrong in your nervous system. That’s why it’s so difficult for me to just shrug this off as just a harmless skin problem. That is the best case scenario. But herpes is a virus that affects the nervous system. It can even lead to life-threatening herpes encephalitis. The pain of having to live with that  is not something I would wish on anyone. 

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I am so sorry I misunderstood! Thank you so much for clarifying.

It's great that the constipation was something you had control over. Yes, herpes is an interesting virus since it lives in our nerve bundles (either base of spine or base of neck) and can impact everyone SO differently! Some people experience nothing, others minor, and others really badly, having issues such as post-herpetic neuralgia. 

In terms of everything, the severity could have been due to the fact that this was your first/primary outbreak. So, if you did have another outbreak, hopefully it wouldn't be as severe as the first one. 

When it comes to choosing a vaccine, the one dose J&J is very powerful since its one single dose instead of it being split into two smaller doses such as Pfizer or Moderna. Because J&J is more concentrated, it may make you feel super ill, so perhaps the J&J would be the one to more likely hypothetically cause an outbreak. The double dose ones do not generally have you feeling extreme ill and sore after the doses, since they are not as highly concentrated. And, perhaps it would be a more gradual way to introduce your body to the vaccine since it's two smaller doses versus one 'big' one.

I hope this helps! 🙂 



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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, @Lvsandy!

I hope you are well.

I am so sorry that you are feeling stressed from worrying about the vaccine. 

Please know that it can trigger outbreaks for some, but not all, people. If you are worried it will trigger an outbreak for you, make sure to have antivirals on hand. Have lysine cream available, and have a spray bottle of ice water available for going to the bathroom to soothe burning. Preparedness can help ease worry and can help an outbreak cause less suffering of one is to occur! 

To prevent the likelihood of an outbreak, you could get one of the two-dose vaccines (Moderna or Pfizer). It may seem like two shots is worse than one, but actually the two dose shots are less concentrated (instead of one shot that really makes you feel so sore and sick afterwards, there's two less-intense doses that still can cause tiredness and soreness and sick-symptoms but generally not as intense as the one-shot Johnson&Johnson vaccine).

I hope this helps! 

Stay well. 🌄



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  • 2 weeks later...

@MG_25 I'm so sorry to hear about your experience with HSV! I hope I can provide some help in regard to vaccines. I've had experience with 2 doses of Pfizer. Before my first Pfizer dose I was unaware that I had HSV, I got my first outbreak the day after getting my first shot, and it was a pretty bad initial outbreak.

I'd recovered by the time I got the second dose of the vaccine, so as a precautionary to stop another outbreak I took antivirals starting the day before receiving the 2nd dose, and stopping the tablets 3 or 4 days after it. I didn't get an outbreak the second time 🙂


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