Q: Is It True That Women Are More Likely To Get Worse Side Effects From The Vaccine Than Men
An analysis from the first 13.7 million Covid-19 vaccine doses given to Americans found that side effects were more common in women. And while severe reactions to the Covid vaccine are rare, nearly all the cases of anaphylaxis, or life-threatening allergic reactions, occurred in women.
The finding that women are more likely to report and experience unpleasant side effects to the Covid vaccine is consistent with other vaccines as well. Women and girls can produce up to twice as many antibodies after receiving flu shots and vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella and hepatitis A and B. One study found that over nearly three decades, women accounted for 80 percent of all adult anaphylactic reactions to vaccines.
While its true that women may be more likely to report side effects than men, the higher rate of side effects in women also has a biological explanation. Estrogen can stimulate an immune response, whereas testosterone can blunt it. In addition, many immune-related genes are on the X chromosome, of which women have two copies and men have only one. These differences may help explain why far more women than men are afflicted with autoimmune disease, which occurs when a robust immune response attacks the bodys healthy tissue. You can read more about women and vaccine side effects here.
Q: Will The Vaccines Work Against The New Variants That Have Emerged Around The World
The vaccines appear to be effective against a new variant that originated in Britain and is quickly becoming dominant in the United States. But some variants of the coronavirus, particularly one first identified in South Africa and one in Brazil, appear to be more adept at dodging antibodies in vaccinated people.
While that sounds worrisome, theres reason to be hopeful. Vaccinated people exposed to a more resistant variant still appear to be protected against serious illness. And scientists have a clear enough understanding of the variants that they already are working on developing booster shots that will target the variants. The variants identified in South Africa and Brazil are not yet widespread in the United States.
People who are vaccinated should still wear masks in public and comply with public health guidelines, but you shouldnt live in fear of variants, said Dr. Peter J. Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. If youre vaccinated, you should feel pretty confident about how protected you are, said Dr. Hotez. Its unlikely youll ever go to a hospital or an I.C.U. with Covid-19. In time youre going to see a recommendation for a booster.
I hope these answers will reassure you about your own vaccine experience. You can find a more complete list of questions and answers in our special vaccine tool Answers to All Your Questions About Getting Vaccinated Against Covid-19.
Will Taking A Pain Reliever Like Tylenol Make The Covid
Although the two studies on kids taking Tylenol before their vaccines showed that it didnt affect their long-term immunity, we cant say if this will be the same for the COVID-19 vaccines. Right now, even though booster shots are being explored and authorized, we still dont know how long immunity from the COVID-19 vaccines lasts. If these vaccines dont provide long-lasting protection against the virus, then the two studies mentioned above cant be used to give advice about taking Tylenol before getting your shot.
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Plan And Prepare For Your Covid
- Find out how to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19.
- If you are getting a COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses, be sure to schedule an appointment for your second shot.
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine and any other recommended vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit.
Do Rest Up Stay Hydrated And Take Medicine If Necessary
Just because your immune system knows what its doing doesnt mean you cant help. Sleep is an important component to immune system functioning, so make sure you get enough rest after your shot. Drinking plenty of fluids, just like you would with a cold, can also help mitigate discomfort from fever and other side effects. Some people have warned against preempting side effects by taking over-the-counter medications like Advil or Tylenol on the grounds that they might interfere with your immune system and make the vaccine less effective. But treating your vaccine-related issues after the shot should be fine.
There is some retrospective data that taking NSAIDs or acetaminophen can reduce response to other vaccines, and laboratory data with mice showed that NSAIDs reduced antibody levels after infection with SARS-CoV-2, Dionne says. While the evidence is not conclusive, I think it makes sense to avoid these medications prior to your vaccine unless you are already taking these regularly If you experience more severe side effects from the vaccine, like fever or headache, it is reasonable to take either NSAIDs or acetaminophen as soon as they start.
If you dont start feeling better after a few days, then you should go ahead and consult your doctor.
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What Else Should You Do If You Have Side Effects After Getting The Covid
If youre feeling lousy after getting vaccinated but have no clue what to do when it comes to OTC meds, give your doctor a call, especially if you are pregnant or have an underlying health condition. Its a risk/benefit decision that is unique to each patient, says Alan. If someone has a fever of 104, it might be worth taking a dose of either acetaminophen or ibuprofen, she says.
If youre uncomfortable but feel like you can ride things out, Dr. Schaffner recommends drinking plenty of fluids, getting rest, and, if you have a fever, dressing in light clothes. If you feel soreness at the injection site, apply a cool, clean, wet washcloth to reduce swelling and try to move your arm gently to give it mild exercise, per the CDC.
Also, its not a bad idea to just take it easy the day after getting vaccinated. Dont get the shot and plan to go mountain climbing the next day, Dr. Watkins says. After all, these vaccines teach your body how to fight a totally foreign virus, and that requires a lot of energy.
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Healthstates Are Rolling Out Vaccination Plans Track The Numbers Inoculated Across The Country
If you’re already taking one of those medications for a health condition, you should not stop before you get the vaccine at least not without asking your doctor, said Jonathan Watanabe, a pharmacist at the University of California, Irvine.
People should not take a painkiller as a preventive measure before getting a vaccine unless a doctor has told them to, he said. The same goes for after a shot: If you dont need to take it, you shouldnt, Watanabe said.
If you do need one, acetaminophen is safer because it doesnt alter your immune response, he added.
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The CDC offers other tips, such as holding a cool, wet washcloth over the area of the shot and exercising that arm. For fever, drink lots of fluids and dress lightly.
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Q: Are The Side Effects Worse If Youve Already Had Covid
Research and anecdotal reports suggest that people with a previously diagnosed Covid-19 infection may have a stronger reaction and more side effects after their first dose of vaccine compared to those who were never infected with the virus. A strong reaction to your first dose of vaccine also might be a sign that you were previously infected, even if you werent aware of it.
If you previously tested positive for Covid-19 or had a positive antibody blood test, be prepared for a stronger reaction to your first dose, and consider scheduling a few days off work just in case. Not only will it be more comfortable to stay home and recover in bed, the vaccine side effects can resemble the symptoms of Covid-19, and your co-workers wont want to be near you anyway.
Can Taking Otc Pain Relievers Before Getting The Covid
This is another question we dont have a definite answer to yet. Past vaccine research is a little confusing as there are studies that have very different results.
One study from 1998 looked at children who were receiving their childhood vaccinations. Some of the children were given Tylenol before their shots, while others were not. The researchers found no difference in the amount of side effects either group of children experienced.
However, another study from 2014 found that when children took Tylenol or Advil before their childhood vaccines, they had less discomfort afterward. While both medications helped prevent pain, Tylenol worked better for fever. They also helped more often with the childrens first shots than their booster shots. The research also suggests that antibodies can still potentially be less responsive to vaccine antigens, but the clinical significance isnt fully known.
Since these studies seem to have opposite answers, we would need more research to say whether taking Tylenol or Advil would definitely help prevent vaccine side effects. Its also important to keep in mind that these studies only looked at children. We have limited research on whether OTC pain relievers and fever reducers would help adults avoid vaccine discomfort.
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Vaccine Team: Can I Take Pain Relievers Or Allergy Medicine After My Covid
When you can and should not take medicines
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As more people across the Carolinas are up for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, were answering your questions.
Robin reached out to the Vaccine Team before her second dose: Can I take pain relievers or allergy medicine after my COVID-19 vaccine?
Please read this carefully.
Yes, AFTER your shot, you can treat any aches with simple pain relievers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the CDC says you should not take pain relievers BEFORE your shot.
It is not recommended you take over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent vaccine-related side effects. It is not known how these medications might affect how well the vaccine works. However, if you take these medications regularly for other reasons, you should keep taking them before you get vaccinated. It is also not recommended to take antihistamines before getting a COVID-19 vaccine to try to prevent allergic reactions.
Some other ways to prevent feeling badly after your shot is to make sure you are well-rested, hydrated, and make sure you dont have an empty stomach.
Other recommendations to help with soreness at the site of injection put a cool cloth on the injection site, move your arm around after your shot.
If you have a question for the WBTV Vaccine Team, submit your question here.
How To Treat Vaccine Side Effects
- Fever/chills/muscle pain
If you have a fever but it’s not bothering you much, you don’t have to do anything to treat it, the doctors said. If you’re very uncomfortable, go ahead and take acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen .
“I felt pretty bad the day after with chills and muscle aches, and I can’t imagine not taking Tylenol or Motrin that day, Creech said. Also drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly, the CDC advises.
Blumberg had just a mild headache after his second dose, but he said some of his colleagues who also got the vaccine have described pounding headaches that were more like migraines. Bright lights bothered them. They just wanted to stay in a dark room, he said.
Again, pain relievers should help, he said, and get plenty of rest.
If you’re tired, don’t feel bad about spending the day in bed, Creech said. I’ll tell you, the more we vaccinate, the more we realize fatigue is a real part of this, he said.
A nap can help you feel better, he said, as can a brisk walk or other exercise. And if you’re one of those people who don’t like to sit still, you won’t hurt yourself if you decide to push through the fatigue, he said.
Fortunately, in most people, the tiredness lasts for only a day or two.
- Pain, swelling or a delayed rash at the injection site
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- A lump in your armpit
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Who Should Get A Covid
- COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone ages 5 years and older.
- Moderately or severely immunocompromised people who are ages 12 years and older and received a Pfizer-BioNTech primary vaccine series or ages 18 years and older and received a Moderna primary vaccine series should receive an additional primary dose of the same vaccine at least 28 days after their second dose.
- Everyone ages 18 years and older who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should get a booster shot. Learn more about booster shots.
The Cdc Recommends Avoiding Ibuprofen Or Acetaminophen Before You Get The Covid
It totally makes sense that youd want to pop a pain- or fever-reducing pill in anticipation of uncomfortable symptoms, but its unclear at this point how these medications will impact the vaccines ability to create those important COVID-fighting antibodies.
There are a couple of small studies in children having to do with regular vaccinesnot COVID vaccinesthat might indicate that taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen before you get the vaccine might reduce your antibody response a little, says William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. But nobody really knows whether this has any clinical significance and its never been studied on a clinical scale.
So, until more research is done and the implications are understood, its best to be cautious and simply avoid taking these meds right before you get vaccinated, as there is some risk that doing this might render the vaccine less effective,says David Cennimo, M.D., assistant professor of medicine-pediatrics infectious disease at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
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Dr Fauci Says Some Tylenol After The Vaccine Should Be Ok
Aches and pains are a common side effect of the COVID vaccine. “If someone gets achy or gets a headache and it’s really bothering you, I mean, I would believe as a physician that I would have no trouble taking a couple of Tylenol for that,” he said. “So again, people are going to come back and forth and say, well, it could mute or dampen the immunological response to the vaccine itself. I don’t see any biological mechanisms why something like Tylenol would not do that.”
The Cdc Says You Should Talk To Your Doctor Before Taking Otc Medications After Your Vaccine
Side effects are common and normal after getting the COVID vaccine, according to the CDC. You could experience pain, a headache, muscle aches, or a fever, all of which might have you reaching for pain relievers. However, in a March 5 update, the CDC stressed that you need to talk to your doctor first before “taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines” after the vaccine. While this warning had been on the website beforehand, it has now been bolded for emphasis.
These medications include widely-used pain relievers and fever reducers like Motrin and Advil and Tylenol . While these pills can relieve post-vaccination side effects, your doctor can help you decide if they are safe for you to take after your shot. And for more drugs to consult your doctor about, If You Take This Common Medication, Talk to a Doctor Before Your Vaccine.
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Can You Take Tylenol Ibuprofen With The Covid Booster Shot
APAP and Ibuprofen painkiller paracetamol pills are seen in plastic packaging in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on April 2, 2021. A report by the MarketGlass research platform concludes that by 2027 the waste container market will have grown by 3.5 percent to 2.8 billion USD. Results of the report come from business analysis of economic trends induced by the pandemic and the following economic rescession.
Whether preparing for the COVID-19 booster shot or enduring side effects, officials have provided guidance on taking various over-the-counter medications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people talk to their doctors about taking over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, for any pain and discomfort after getting vaccinated.
According to the CDC, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson COVID boosters are the same dosage as the first round of shots. Moderna, however, is half the dose of the vaccine used in the initial series.
The CDC does not recommend, however, that people take such over-the-counter medications or antihistamines to prevent side effects prior to receiving the coronavirus vaccine or booster shot.
Health officials noted that it is not known how those medications might affect the efficacy of the vaccine. For people who take medications for underlying medical conditions, the CDC recommends to continue taking.
Common side effects in the body include: