Several countries including the US, UK, India and Israel began mass vaccination programs to put an end to the Coronavirus pandemic. But healthcare experts have warned that over-the-counter pain relief drugs such as Aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen may reduce the effectiveness of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.
Since some people are experiencing minor side effects such as temporary pain after taking a vaccine shot, it may lead many to take painkiller drugs before the inoculation. But as per the experts, such practice may hinder the body's ability to produce enough antibodies that provide protection against the COVID-19.
The Concern Among Experts
Dr. Simone Wildes, an infectious disease expert and member of Massachusetts' COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, told ABC News, "We do not recommend premedication with ibuprofen or Tylenol before COVID-19 vaccines due to the lack of data on how it impacts the vaccine-induced antibody responses."
A Duke University study found that children who take painkillers before getting their routine vaccinations produce fewer antibodies compared to those who did not take medicines. This means less protection against diseases.
An infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner, who is a professor of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said, "We are recommending that unless people have a substantial reaction to the first dose that they hold their pain killers." He also added that many vaccine recipients may experience sore arms but otherwise, they will feel "pretty well".
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US, also released guidelines. The federal agency advised people who have received the vaccine—Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna—to monitor their side effects. CDC also asked people to try natural methods to minimize the pain before consuming any pain relief drug.
However, Dr. Wildes said that recipients could use pain relievers if they develop fever, chills and headaches after vaccination. It would help reduce the symptoms but no one should take pain relievers before developing any such issue. She also advised people to report any significant side effect to a healthcare professional.
In Russia, when authorities began vaccinating people in the country using Sputnik V, healthcare officials warned people to avoid alcohol for two months after receiving the shot. The warning came from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, who during an interview, said that countrymen have to take extra precautions during the 42 days, which is the time required for the vaccine to become effective.