• Arizona
  • Thursday , Feb 1 , 2018

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San Tan Valley Area Information

2 minutes reading time (399 words)

Doctors advise against taking over-the-counter painkillers before COVID-19 shot

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Some doctors are recommending people not take aspirin or ibuprofen right before getting a COVID-19 vaccine dose. It's true, you might have some mild symptoms after your shot, but there's a chance you could interfere with its effectiveness if you take an Advil before your go.

The COVID-19 vaccine affects every person differently. For some, like 77-year-old Marilyn Sassman of Surprise, there are zero side effects. "It didn't feel any different than any other flu shot or any other shot that I've gotten," she said.

For others, the second dose is worse than the first. Regina Villa is one of the lucky nurses who got her first dose on the very first day it was available in Arizona. She said she felt fine after that one, but the next dose was different.

"That one did have a little bit more of an effect, but I'm gonna tell you – it was bearable. It was nothing that I – I didn't need medication," she said.

Dr. Edward Westerfield calls the second dose a bear.

"About 12 hours after I got the injection, it's like I got hit by a train – body aches, fatigue," he said.

Westerfield and Villa say their symptoms didn't last long, but if you're planning on fighting off the soreness ahead of time with aspirin or Advil, you might want to rethink that.

"No one knows for sure, but there is some suggestion that it might interfere with your ability to make a full immune response," said infectious disease specialist Dr. Patricia Gill.

The vaccine will cause some inflammation in your cells as your body builds immunity (the symptoms mean the shot is working). The inflammation is also what may cause you to feel sick, but if you pop an ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory, it could cause the immune-building process to backfire.

"My suggestion would be don't premedicate, but if you do need something for pain or fever after the fact, I would reach first for Tylenol, and then – if you need it – ibuprofen," Gill said.

Gill points out that researchers did not tell the test subjects to avoid over-the-counter meds before getting the shot during the vaccine trials. That means it's possible some of them did premedicate, and the vaccine still came out with 95% effectiveness. Researchers are now starting new studies to determine if Advil or aspirin actually interfere with the vaccine.
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