Don’t Take a Painkiller before Your Covid Shot!!!

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter
THURSDAY, Feb. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) — You finally managed to score an appointment to be vaccinated against the new coronavirus and you’re a little nervous about side effects, so taking a painkiller right before you get your shot seems like a smart idea.Not so fast, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Instead, the agency is telling people not to take pain medications like MotrinAdvil or Tylenol before getting their COVID-19 vaccines.


It’s possible that taking a painkiller before getting a vaccine will result in a “decrease in antibody response,” explained Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Although the odds of a diminished immune response aren’t really known, Poland said it’s better to suffer the side effects than take the chance of making the vaccine less effective.

“After receiving the vaccine, if one develops symptoms that they feel they want to treat, it’s fine, but ideally not before,” he said. “Now, that’s a recommendation by CDC, out of an abundance of caution.”

There are exceptions, however: People who usually take pain relievers, such as migraine sufferers, should of course take their medication, he added.

“Go ahead and take it rather than end up with a full-blown migraine and end up in the ER having to get much more intensive or expensive therapy,” Poland said.

He also noted that the aftereffects of the vaccine can differ between the two doses, with the effects after the second dose typically being worse.

“I’ll tell you after my first dose, I had a little bit of a sore arm. After the second dose, I had a moderately severe sore arm, and I had four hours of shaking, chills with a 101-degree fever along with fatigueheadache and ringing in my ears. I took one dose of Tylenol, went to bed, woke up the next morning and was 80% to 90% better, and within that half-day, back to normal,” Poland said.

These side effects are caused as the body’s immune system revs up to fight the invader, which is just what’s needed to produce the antibodies to blunt the virus.

Before getting vaccinated, people need to set their expectations appropriately, Poland said. “The symptoms are transient, they’re self-resolving, they are not an indication that something’s going wrong,” he said. “If need be, go ahead and treat them.”The CDC also cautions against taking antihistamines like Zyrtec or Claritin before getting the COVID-19 vaccine, “because they could mask the onset or development of allergic or hypersensitivity reactions,” Poland added.Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, agrees that it’s not a good idea to take a pain medication before getting a vaccine.”My general belief on this is it’s never a good idea to blunt fever, because fever is an adaptive part of your immune response,” he said.

“Let your immune system do its job,” Offit said. “The second dose was pretty rough. I had fatigue and fever, but I handled it by whining. Whining was my way of handling it.”

More information

For more on the COVID-19 vaccines, head to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Gregory Poland, MD, director, Vaccine Research Group, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Paul Offit, MD, director, Vaccine Education Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, member, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee

WebMD News from HealthDay
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , on by .

About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Take a Painkiller before Your Covid Shot!!!

  1. Marilyn Armstrong

    I just got my appointment TODAY and I was wondering about this. I take pain relieves every day for my spine. Not opioids (I’m allergic to them), but something that works pretty well and has a different chemical structure. I was wondering if I should take them. I always worry about taking medications before I get tested because I’m afraid it will change the results. The BP meds are a “no choice” option. I have to take them and there’s no such thing as a day off, but the medications I take for pain and sleep can potentially interfere with other stuff. I think I’m going to call my doctor and ask him about it. I can do without them for a while if I must. I hurt more, but I can tolerate it for a day or even a few. Not happily, but these pills aren’t addictive per se. The pain relief IS addictive. Not hurting is definitely addictive when you’ve been in pain a lot for a long time. I don’t even know which vaccine I’m getting. The pharmacy doesn’t seem to know either. Whatever gets delivered and apparently it’s not the same in all the pharmacies.

    Have you gotten vaccinated yet? I’m SO relieved to have scored a vaccine. Garry’s going to get his second shot on Saturday and we have a big wave of that fast-moving version of the virus and it is SO easy to catch — and my heart is pretty dodgy. I’ve survived so far basically by never going anywhere unless I absolutely MUST, but people are picking it up without even knowing how and where they go it, so I’ve been getting more and more worried about surviving. Of course, I could get runover by an out of control beer truck tomorrow but I’d like to avoid COVID at least. I have asthma and I have enough trouble breathing without additional issues. I’ve also had pneumonia often over the past decade. Only for the past couple of years, as my heart has started to stabilize and I think I’m finally recuperate from the surgery have I managed to not get seriously sick. Two years of NOT getting sick is almost a record!

    I hope you get your vaccine soon too. We deserve the right to enjoy our older years. We earned them.


    1. lifelessons Post author

      Hi Marilyn. No, I haven’t had the shots, although I am registered. I don’t think they’ll probably happen until April as they are sending the vaccine to poorer areas first, which I agree with. We, at least, can just stay home. Some Americans have gone into outlying areas to get vaccinated but I don’t think this is fair. So relieved you are soon to get yours.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.