Doctors caution against taking pain relievers before COVID-19 vaccine

NOW: Doctors caution against taking pain relievers before COVID-19 vaccine

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- UW Health Primary Care Medical Director Dr. Matt Anderson said Monday, Feb 1, it is too early to tell how accurate reports are that painkillers like Ibuprofen could negatively impact the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“There are some theoretical concerns that there could be a blunting of an immune response," Anderson said. "But there’s certainly not widespread published evidence that would make it a strong recommendation.”

Anderson said despite a lack of concrete evidence, the theory makes sense. A vaccine invokes a sort of inflammatory response from the body, which helps the immune system prepare to fight a virus. Ibuprofen and Aspirin are anti-inflammatory, so they could feasibly mute the body's response to the vaccine, as well as any pain.

Anderson recommended avoiding taking those drugs before the vaccine, but said people who experience pain or symptoms after receiving the shot should feel free to take them.

“Wait until you have symptoms, and if it’s necessary to control those, it’s okay to do so.”

Anderson also commented on the fact that 20.1 percent of Wisconsinites age 65 and older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That is more than twice the rate of any other age group.

“That population is certainly more at risk, and so the more vaccines that we can get into that population, into their arms, the more protected they’re going to be," Anderson said. "So really important for that group to continue getting their second doses.”

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