With roughly 22% of the population fully vaccinated as of mid-April according to the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker, we still have a long way to go to get everyone protected. In Texas, people who are 16 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The shots are available in a variety of places, including large vaccine hubs as well as through community vaccine providers such as pharmacies and clinics.
While getting the shot is pretty straightforward, you may have questions about how to alleviate potential side effects or whether you can get a mammogram after your shot. You should always talk with your doctor about your specific health concerns, but the CDC offers general recommendations for how to make your COVID-19 vaccine experience the best possible.
If you are getting a COVID vaccination, here are 5 things not to do.
Before getting your shot:
- Resist the urge to take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever. Taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin right before your COVID-19 shot as a preventive measure against possible side effects such as fever, headaches or muscle pain may lessen its effectiveness. These anti-inflammatory medications could interfere with the ability of the vaccine to give you the most robust response.
The exception: The CDC is clear that if you regularly take any of these OTC medications for other health reasons, you should continue taking them before you get vaccinated or ask your doctor to provide guidance. The same holds true for all prescription medications you are on. If you’re unsure about any of them, talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated.
After a few hours have passed and your body has begun initiating an immune response, taking an OTC pain reliever/fever reducer for any side effects should be fine.
- Skip your allergy medication. The CDC recommends that you hold off on taking antihistamines before getting a COVID-19 vaccination to try to help minimize the risk for an allergic reaction.
- Don’t get another vaccination within 14 days. If you need other types of vaccinations, the CDC recommends that you have them at least 14 days before your COVID-19 shot or at least 14 days after. This is because we still don’t know enough about the safety and effectiveness of mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines.
The exception: When the potential consequences of not getting a vaccination could be serious, such as a tetanus shot for wound care, a measles shot or a hepatitis A vaccination during an outbreak, the CDC recommends waiving the 14-day wait time.
- Don’t get dermal fillers right before or after. According to the CDC, people who get dermal fillers around the same time as a COVID-19 shot may experience swelling at or near the site of their filler injection following a dose of mRNA vaccine. That doesn’t mean that if you’ve ever had a dermal filler you can’t get vaccinated; the CDC says that COVID-19 vaccines can be administered to people who have received injectable dermal fillers who have no contraindications or precautions for vaccination. If you experience any swelling at or near a dermal filler site following your vaccination, contact your healthcare provider.
After getting your shot:
- Check with your doctor before scheduling a mammogram. According to the experts at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute, a small population of people who receive a COVID-19 vaccination may experience swelling and tenderness of the lymph nodes in the armpit, also known as axillary lymph node swelling or lymphadenopathy. These are normal and predictable signs that the body is building immunities against COVID-19, but it’s possible that they could cause a false mammogram reading. If you know that your mammogram is scheduled to happen within a few weeks of your vaccination, talk with your doctor about optimal timing. Sarah Cannon also suggests speaking with your doctor if you are experiencing any other side effects that may impact your screening.
Getting medical care during the pandemic.
Many people avoided the ER and canceled preventive healthcare appointments and scheduled surgeries and procedures (such as joint replacement or colonoscopies) during the pandemic. We want to remind you that COVID-19 should never delay emergency care and that it’s both safe and necessary to keep up with your well-woman visits, screenings and scheduled surgeries and procedures. Visit our COVID-19 Resource Hub for more information.
Medical City Healthcare provides comprehensive emergency services across North Texas.
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