Skip Painkillers Before or After COVID Vaccine

As more priority groups of people receive the first and perhaps even the second dose of the novel coronavirus vaccine, some may be wondering what painkillers are safe to take before or after a shot.  According to a recent Associated Press NBC News report, it is best to avoid taking ibuprofen or Tylenol unless they are part of a treatment routine for a medical condition. 

Some people experience side effects from the COVID vaccine including arm soreness, fever, headache and muscle aches that are temporary reactions indicating the body’s immune response has been triggered.  But, taking a painkiller to offset any discomfort caused by inflammation from a strong immune response could interfere with the goal of the vaccine.  Recent research has found that painkillers that suppress inflammation like Advil or Motrin, could also lower the production of antibodies and dampen the body’s immune response. 

However, if you regularly take these types of medication for a health condition, do not stop taking it before getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and talk with a doctor before being vaccinated.  If you don’t really need a painkiller, don’t take it without being advised to do so by a doctor.  Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be a safer choice because it will not curb the immune response.  

Rather than popping a bill for post-vaccine discomfort, try using a cool compress on the injection site, drink plenty of fluids for a fever and dress in cool, light clothing.  If side effects such as redness or soreness in the arm don’t resolve after a few days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends calling your doctor for further instructions. 

If some adults are wondering if they should hold out for a certain brand of vaccine, doctors advise people to accept any of the vaccines. “Get the first vaccine that is offered because their benefits far outweigh any potential risk,” states Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, CEO of the Mayo Clinic.