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Can I take painkillers before or after the COVID-19 vaccine?

Can I take painkillers before or after the COVID-19 vaccine?

Do not take them before the shot to try to prevent the symptoms, but if your doctor agrees, use them afterwards if necessary.

The concern of painkillers is that they can inhibit the immune system’s response to the vaccine. Vaccines work by tricking the body into thinking it has a virus, and they put protection against it. It can cause temporary pain in the hand, fever, muscle aches or other symptoms of inflammation. Signs that the vaccine is doing its job.

Some studies suggest that certain painkillers, including ibuprofen (other brands Advil, Motrin:), may reduce the immune response. Studies in mice suggest that these drugs may reduce the production of antibodies that block the virus from infecting cells.

Other studies have shown that painkillers can weaken the response to certain childhood vaccines, so many pediatricians advise parents to avoid giving their children medicine only if necessary, says Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guideline to recommend painkillers before COVID-19 shooting. It says they can be taken afterwards for symptoms if you do not have other medical conditions that preclude their use but to talk to your doctor.

If you’re already taking any of these medications for your health, you should not stop taking the vaccine, at least without asking your doctor, said Jon Onathan Watanabe, a pharmacist at the University of California, Irvine.

If you want to relieve the symptoms after your shot, he added that acetaminophen (Tylenol) is better because it works differently than some other painkillers.

“If you have a reaction later and need something, take some acetaminophen,” Schaffner agreed. He added that the immune response from the vaccines was strong enough that any debilitating effects of the painkillers were unlikely to diminish the shot.

The CDC also offers other tips, such as keeping a cool, wet washcloth on the shot area and training it. Drink plenty of fluids for fever և dress lightly. Do not call your doctor if the redness or tenderness increases after a day or the side effects do not go away after a few days, says the CDC.


The AP answers your questions about this series of coronaviruses. Submit them to FactCheck@AP.org. Read more here:

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