COVID warning: WHO advises against taking painkillers before vaccination

Taking a painkiller before you get your COVID jab may ease potential side effects, but it can also interfere with its efficacy.

COVID medication
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COVID medication

Now that hundreds and thousands of people are getting pricked by thelife-saving vaccine all over the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued an important notice. They’re warning people to stop taking painkillers before getting their COVID jab.

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Popping painkillers

Many have been popping pain-relieving pills prior to getting jabbed to avoid some of the side effects that come with the vaccine—including fever, muscle pain, fatigue, and headache. The organisation has suggested that people refrain from taking any form of painkillers because they still do not know how it will affect the vaccine. They explained:

This is because it is not known how painkillers may affect how well the vaccine works.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had also issued the same recommendation.

Effect on vaccine

Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Vaccine Research Group at Mayo Clinic, explained that these medicines could lead to a 'decrease in antibodyresponse'—antibodies are crucial in the fight against the virus. Studies have found that painkillers have the ability to interfere with the efficacy of the flu jab, and experts believe that the same results may be applicable to the COVID vaccine. Although there is no conclusive evidence linked to the COVID vaccine in particular, Dr. Poland says it's better to be safe than sorry.

But he has pointed out that there are a few exceptional cases. Those who suffer from migraines and are used to taking pain medication should stick to their prescribed dose. He said:

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.

Painkillers after vaccination

Organisations like WHO and CDC have however given the green light for people to take pain-relieving medication if any side effects do develop after vaccination. WHO added:

However, you may take paracetamol or other painkillers if you do develop side effects such as pain, fever, headache or muscle aches after vaccination.
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