A lot of people, in anticipation of a potentially uncomfortable medical event, may take something for pain ahead of time. But some doctors are warning not to do that before the COVID-19 vaccine.
There just isn't enough known yet about pain medications like Tylenol or Advil, and how they may interact with COVID-19 vaccines.
The vaccine triggers the immune system to build up a response to COVID-19. And since some pain relievers are anti-inflammatories, that could impact the immune system from responding like it normally would.
The theory is that it could reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine.
“Another reason it's helpful not to pre-medicate yourself is that you can really pay attention to what your symptoms are and not mask them,” said Dr. Jewel Mullen, Health Equity Association Dean at the Dell Medical School.
Mullen is also an advocate for not pre-medicating. She says after the shot, if you feel achy or feverish, that's a different story.
Mullen got her first dose of the vaccine and just kept moving her arm around the next day to work out the soreness.
“The more we favor something that's not really fully injured, it also reinforces for us psychologically there's something wrong with us or there's something wrong with it. And this is such a short-term side effect, there's no reason to stop generally moving things around makes them feel better,” said Mullen.
If you do take pain medication or anti-inflammatories on a regular basis for other issues, it’s best to talk to your doctor about using them with the COVID-19 vaccines.
Mullen is more concerned about people getting inaccurate information about vaccines.
“I have gratitude for all of the success of the medical research and science that got us this vaccine in in a safe. Science based way so that we can feel secure that we're doing something to protect people along the way,” said Mullen.