Can you take pain relievers post-COVID-19 vaccine?

A sore arm, body aches, and in some cases, mild fevers, are all immune responses reported by recipients of COVID-19 vaccines. These symptoms mean the vaccine is working. While patients might want to reach for pain relievers or fever reducers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to minimize these effects, experts say it's not a good idea to do so before you get your shot. There is a concern that these medications may dampen the immune response.

"In general, we prefer people don’t take [pain relievers] before either of their shots, but we understand that if someone is on one of these medications long-term, or if they had a particular reaction the first time around and feel like they won’t be able to get the second shot without the assistance of one of these medications, then we think about it in terms of 'What’s the benefit? What’s the risk?' " says Dr. Seth Cohen, medical director of infection prevention at UW Medical Center.

If post-vaccination pain becomes too intense, it's OK to manage it with pain relievers, Cohen said, but try to hold off, if possible.


UW Medicine