As the COVID vaccination effort in the US continues to pick up steam, Dr. Anthony Fauci and the CDC have recently cautioned that anyone preparing to get vaccinated shouldn’t take pain relievers like Advil, Motrin, or Tylenol before their appointment. The underlying rationale is that these medications might prevent COVID vaccines from working exactly as intended. While there’s no conclusive proof that this is the case with the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, the CDC and Fauci are naturally erring on the side of caution.
“There are data in the vaccine literature, long predating COVID-19 and almost all [done] in children, that premedication with [fever-reducing drugs] like acetaminophen or ibuprofen decrease the antibody response to the first dose of vaccine,” Dr. David Cennimo told the Miami Herald a few weeks ago.
Commenting on the issue, Dr. Fauci recently said:
The mixed advice is based on the fact that there’s very little data on that. I mean, if you’re going to take something that suppresses an immunological response, then obviously, you don’t want to take something like that.
Something that’s a true anti-inflammatory, such as one of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, should not be given.
Consequently, the CDC currently advises against taking medication before getting vaccinated if the sole objective is to try and prevent side effects from manifesting.
However, if you’re already taking a medication like Tylenol for an existing medical condition as directed by your doctor, health experts say you should maintain the regimen.
It’s also worth noting that taking Advil of Tylenol post-vaccination is perfectly acceptable, with the CDC noting:
Antipyretic or analgesic medications (e.g., acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be taken for the treatment of post-vaccination local or systemic symptoms, if medically appropriate. However, routine prophylactic administration of these medications for the purpose of preventing post-vaccination symptoms is not currently recommended, because information on the impact of such use on mRNA COVID-19 vaccine-induced antibody responses is not available at this time.
Being aware of these guidelines is becoming more important as the vaccination effort in the US is set to kick into high gear. Last week, Pfizer and Moderna promised to boost their cumulative vaccine shipments to 140 million doses before April.
“Because of the dire need to vaccinate more people, we have ramped up production of doses,” Pfizer chief business officer John Young said before Congress a few days ago.
Pfizer and Moderna’s pledge, coupled with the fact that Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine recently received an EUA from the FDA, points to a huge increase in vaccinations coming up over the next few weeks. As it stands now, more than 51 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while approximately 26 million have received both doses.