Should I take paracetamol before the Covid vaccine?

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Is it OK to pop a couple of painkillers before your jab? (Picture: Getty)

There are so many questions connected to the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout.

People are wondering when the 30 to 40 age bracket will receive their jab, whether we’ll soon need to have vaccine passports and the truth about Oxford AstraZeneca’s alleged blood clot link.

One of the biggest is: can you take paracetamol before you get jabbed, in order to stave off any nasty side effects?

Here’s what you need to know about taking paracetamol before and after your Covid-19 vaccine…

Is it safe to take paracetamol before the Covid jab?

The NHS advise that taking painkillers, such as paracetamol is fine, after having the jab.

Generally, taking painkillers as a preventative measure is not recommended, as most side effects are mild, so there’s no need to take them before the jab.

However, in the US, the Centre for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) has advised against taking paracetamol before getting the vaccine full stop.

Millions across the UK have received their first Covid vaccines (Picture: Getty)

The idea behind the CDC’s decision is that paracetamol could potentially have some affect on your immune system’s response to the jab, according to the Associated Press.

Why? Because a vaccine works by tricking your immune system into thinking you’ve got Covid-19 (even though the vaccines contains no Covid whatsoever).

From there, immunity is developed as the body tries to defend itself from the ‘virus’.

All of the Covid-19 vaccines – Oxford AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax – work this way.

And the body’s defence – its reaction – is where side effects like a sore arm and muscle aching come from.

We’ve got in touch with the NHS to clarify the official guidance over here in the UK and will update this article if the current advice changes.

There isn’t a definitive list of things you should or shouldn’t do before going to your vaccine appointment – but it is generally considered wise to avoid ibuprofen and also alcohol beforehand.

Find out the latest on taking paracetamol before and after Covid here (Picture: Getty)

Previously, William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said that ‘nobody has studied that’ so far – but you wouldn’t want to take any chances on medicines impairing your immune response to the vaccine.

Can you take paracetamol for Covid vaccine side effects?

Yes, if you’re usually okay with taking paracetamol, then it’s fine to take after you’ve had the Covid-19 jab.

In fact, the NHS website recommends it as a way to deal with mild, low-levels symptoms, including:

  • A sore arm at the needle site
  • Feeling achy
  • Having a headache
  • Feeling tired or sick.

If you’re unable to take certain painkillers because of a health condition or other reason, you’re still unable to take them.

Though if you do pop a pill or two to ease uncomfortable or painful symptoms, remember to keep an eye on them.

Once you’ve been vaccinated, it’s OK to take paracetamol for your symptoms (Picture: Getty)

The NHS says a headache post-Covid vaccine shouldn’t last longer than four days – so call your GP if you find it’s lingering or getting worse.

Likewise, if you experience any bruising somewhere other than where the vaccine was administered, time to talk to your doctor.

Other mild symptoms should last no longer than a week – so if they persist, call 111.

Temperatures or feeling shivery are also common side effects – but these should only last two days max. If longer, seek immediate medical treatment.


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