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So you got the COVID-19 vaccine: 9 common questions answered – KCRA Sacramento

With the COVID-19 vaccine increasingly accessible and people in more age groups now eligible to receive the shot across California, questions about drinking alcohol after getting the vaccine and whether to take ibuprofen or other medications about the vaccine are trending online.KCRA 3 asked pulmonary and critical care physician Dr. Vanessa Walker of Pulmonary Medicine Associates for answers to before-and-after questions about getting the vaccine and recently searched questions.Is it safe to take over-the-counter pain medication before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?Dr. Walker: “We don’t recommend Tylenol or Advil or any of those types of medications before you go get the vaccine. It’s OK if you have some symptoms you want to help get some relief from. Go ahead, take that medication afterwards, but we don’t recommend just routinely taking the medicine to try to prevent the symptoms. There haven’t been any really good studies to show whether that affects the effectiveness of vaccine, so we just recommend only using medication if you need them, not just to try to prevent symptoms.”Are uncomfortable side effects, particularly after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, avoidable?Dr. Walker: There is really no hard-and-fast rule. The biggest thing is we want you to hydrate. Drinking water before and after can actually help with your symptoms, those kind of side effects that you get, it’ll just make you feel better. You’ll handle the vaccine better.Are my prescriptions, vitamin supplements, over-the-counter allergy medications safe to take before or after receiving my vaccine doses?Dr. Walker: “There are not any vitamin supplements that have been found to be dangerous in regards to COVID.”There’s no problem with taking your routine medications or over-the-counter allergy medications with the vaccine. It’s not going to affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. There are no hard-and-fast contraindications to any medications.”The one recommendation we do have, is if you are going to be placed onto a new immunosuppressive agent … we would recommend you wait a couple of weeks after getting the injection before starting that, unless you absolutely need to go on it for a medical condition, please, follow the advice of your doctor. But that is one recommendation: If you are going to be starting a very immune-suppressive regimen, that you probably want to let that vaccine work before you get started on those medications.”Why was I asked about use of dermal fillers (i.e. BOTOX) when I received my first COVID shot?Dr. Walker: “What we have noticed in people who get dermal fillers is they can get swelling and irritation at the injectable sites of the fillers. We’re not really sure why. It’s just the swelling, it’s localized and it will go away. So it’s just something people need to be aware of, but it’s not a contraindication to getting the vaccine. Just know if you are somebody who uses those types of cosmetic filler-type things, you might have some side effects of swelling at those locations.”I’m due for a routine mammogram but heard I should wait a few weeks after my COVID-19 shot. Why is that?Dr. Walker: “If you’re going to get a mammogram, we recommend holding off immediately after getting the vaccine because the vaccine can cause you to have some lymph node enlargement. If you have some enlarged lymph nodes that show up on that mammogram, you might get an abnormal test and you might get sent for procedures that you otherwise would not have needed to get. So we are recommending holding off, at least a few weeks after getting the vaccine, before getting a routine mammogram.”Can I drink alcohol after getting the vaccine?Dr. Walker: “It’s not that you can’t drink alcohol afterwards. It’s not that it’s going to change the effects of the vaccine. It’s still going to work just fine. But you might feel kind of crummy if you drink alcohol afterwards. So, I would recommend against that so you make sure you don’t feel bad afterwards, especially with that whole concept of hydration (mentioned above).”What about the use of cannabis products before or after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?Dr. Walker: “We don’t have any studies that show for or against the use of any cannabis products after or before the vaccination. I think it could potentially go along the same lines as alcohol. It may or may not make your symptoms feel better. It’s really hard to tell, but you certainly are not going to hurt yourself.”When can I gather with my friends in a group again?Dr. Walker: “After the first dose, you are not protected. You might have less symptoms in the event you were to get sick, but you are not fully protected. In fact, you are not fully protected until two weeks after the second dose, and you can still get COVID-19 even after you’ve been fully vaccinated.”I had COVID-19 and was sick with the virus for weeks. Do I still need the vaccine?Dr. Walker: “Yes, even if you’ve had the virus, you should absolutely get the vaccine. Vaccine immunity is stronger than natural immunity. People who’ve had COVID-19 are at risk of reinfection. People who’ve had COVID-19 should wait two weeks after symptom onset and be cleared from isolation before going to get the vaccine. Additionally, if someone treated for COVID received a so-called ‘antibody cocktail’ (i.e. Regeneron’s REGN-COV2 antibody cocktail) or if they received convalescent plasma, they need to wait 90 days after that treatment before getting vaccinated.”

With the COVID-19 vaccine increasingly accessible and people in more age groups now eligible to receive the shot across California, questions about drinking alcohol after getting the vaccine and whether to take ibuprofen or other medications about the vaccine are trending online.

KCRA 3 asked pulmonary and critical care physician Dr. Vanessa Walker of Pulmonary Medicine Associates for answers to before-and-after questions about getting the vaccine and recently searched questions.

Is it safe to take over-the-counter pain medication before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?


Dr. Walker:
“We don’t recommend Tylenol or Advil or any of those types of medications before you go get the vaccine. It’s OK if you have some symptoms you want to help get some relief from. Go ahead, take that medication afterwards, but we don’t recommend just routinely taking the medicine to try to prevent the symptoms. There haven’t been any really good studies to show whether that affects the effectiveness of vaccine, so we just recommend only using medication if you need them, not just to try to prevent symptoms.”

Are uncomfortable side effects, particularly after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, avoidable?

Dr. Walker: There is really no hard-and-fast rule. The biggest thing is we want you to hydrate. Drinking water before and after can actually help with your symptoms, those kind of side effects that you get, it’ll just make you feel better. You’ll handle the vaccine better.

Are my prescriptions, vitamin supplements, over-the-counter allergy medications safe to take before or after receiving my vaccine doses?

Dr. Walker: “There are not any vitamin supplements that have been found to be dangerous in regards to COVID.

“There’s no problem with taking your routine medications or over-the-counter allergy medications with the vaccine. It’s not going to affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. There are no hard-and-fast contraindications to any medications.

“The one recommendation we do have, is if you are going to be placed onto a new immunosuppressive agent … we would recommend you wait a couple of weeks after getting the injection before starting that, unless you absolutely need to go on it for a medical condition, please, follow the advice of your doctor. But that is one recommendation: If you are going to be starting a very immune-suppressive regimen, that you probably want to let that vaccine work before you get started on those medications.”


Why was I asked about use of dermal fillers (i.e. BOTOX) when I received my first COVID shot?

Dr. Walker: “What we have noticed in people who get dermal fillers is they can get swelling and irritation at the injectable sites of the fillers. We’re not really sure why. It’s just the swelling, it’s localized and it will go away. So it’s just something people need to be aware of, but it’s not a contraindication to getting the vaccine. Just know if you are somebody who uses those types of cosmetic filler-type things, you might have some side effects of swelling at those locations.”

I’m due for a routine mammogram but heard I should wait a few weeks after my COVID-19 shot. Why is that?

Dr. Walker: “If you’re going to get a mammogram, we recommend holding off immediately after getting the vaccine because the vaccine can cause you to have some lymph node enlargement. If you have some enlarged lymph nodes that show up on that mammogram, you might get an abnormal test and you might get sent for procedures that you otherwise would not have needed to get. So we are recommending holding off, at least a few weeks after getting the vaccine, before getting a routine mammogram.”

Can I drink alcohol after getting the vaccine?

Dr. Walker: “It’s not that you can’t drink alcohol afterwards. It’s not that it’s going to change the effects of the vaccine. It’s still going to work just fine. But you might feel kind of crummy if you drink alcohol afterwards. So, I would recommend against that so you make sure you don’t feel bad afterwards, especially with that whole concept of hydration (mentioned above).”

What about the use of cannabis products before or after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?


Dr. Walker:
“We don’t have any studies that show for or against the use of any cannabis products after or before the vaccination. I think it could potentially go along the same lines as alcohol. It may or may not make your symptoms feel better. It’s really hard to tell, but you certainly are not going to hurt yourself.”

When can I gather with my friends in a group again?

Dr. Walker: “After the first dose, you are not protected. You might have less symptoms in the event you were to get sick, but you are not fully protected. In fact, you are not fully protected until two weeks after the second dose, and you can still get COVID-19 even after you’ve been fully vaccinated.”

I had COVID-19 and was sick with the virus for weeks. Do I still need the vaccine?

Dr. Walker: “Yes, even if you’ve had the virus, you should absolutely get the vaccine. Vaccine immunity is stronger than natural immunity. People who’ve had COVID-19 are at risk of reinfection. People who’ve had COVID-19 should wait two weeks after symptom onset and be cleared from isolation before going to get the vaccine. Additionally, if someone treated for COVID received a so-called ‘antibody cocktail’ (i.e. Regeneron’s REGN-COV2 antibody cocktail) or if they received convalescent plasma, they need to wait 90 days after that treatment before getting vaccinated.”

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