Now that we’re more than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, there’s finally a reason to be optimistic that the worst is behind us. Not only has the infection rate dropped dramatically over the past two months, but there are now three safe and effective vaccines available to Americans.
As a quick rundown of what’s available, Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has a 95% efficacy rate and requires a two-dose administration. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, meanwhile, has a 66% efficacy rate and only requires a single dose. The 66% figure, it’s worth noting, is a bit misleading to the extent that it represents how well the vaccine can prevent mild and severe COVID infections. This figure, however, rises to 84% when it comes to preventing serious COVID infections. More importantly, all of the aforementioned vaccines are safe and have resulted in no deaths or hospitalizations.
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With the vaccine supply poised to increase significantly over the next few weeks, it stands to reason that we’re going to see a record number of people get vaccinated throughout March and April. In light of that, it’s worth highlighting that some existing medications could impact the efficacy of the vaccine or subsequent side effects.
As a prime example, you should tell your vaccination provider if you happen to be on blood thinner medication. While this won’t impact the efficacy of the vaccine, it could increase the likelihood of bruising at the point of injection. Further, you should also check in with your primary care physician on the off-chance that they might have you skip a dose of your blood thinner medication.
“Your vaccination provider,” BestLife notes, “will be able to properly monitor the injection site for signs of excessive bleeding or bruising, otherwise known as a hematoma, if you let them know you are on a blood thinner.”
Additionally, vaccination providers could opt to inject the shot deeper into the muscle and apply more pressure post-shot in order to reduce the risk of bleeding underneath the skin.
All told, being on blood thinner medication shouldn’t prevent anyone from getting vaccinated. Still, it’s wise to err on the side of safety and inform your doctor and vaccine provider.
As Dr. Robert Bona of Yale notes, “the benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweigh any potential for serious bleeding.”
According to the FDA, anyone with the following conditions should mention it to their vaccine provider before the first dose:
• have any allergies
• have a fever
• have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
• are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
• are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
• are breastfeeding
• have received another COVID-19 vaccine
As a final point, anyone about to get vaccinated should avoid pain relievers like Advil, Motrin, or Tylenol before their appointment because it could impact the efficacy of the vaccine.
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