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Caution with medications advised before getting COVID vaccine
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Caution with medications advised before getting COVID vaccine

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JACKSONVILLE — People preparing to receive the COVID-19 vaccination should avoid certain medications, including acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen.

"Tylenol or ibuprofen can basically blunt your body's immune system's response to the vaccine," said Dr. Anthony Griffin, chief medical officer for Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville.

The three are marketed over-the-counter under brand names including Tylenol, Advil and Aleve.

The COVID-19 vaccine's purpose is to rev up your immune system to fight against the virus, and those medications could reduce the vaccine's effectiveness, Griffin said.

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Once you've had the vaccine, however, it is OK to use any of the three medications to treat symptoms such as body aches or arm pain near the injection site, if necessary, Griffin said.

Such side effects are normal and are a sign that a person's body is generating a robust response to the vaccine, which is key to the body developing immunity, he said.

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There tends to be more side effects from the second dose of the vaccine, but they tend to be minor and short-lived, he said, adding that major side effects are extremely rare.

"We recommend that you wait and see if you develop side effects before taking pain relievers," he said. "If you do have symptoms after vaccination, by all means, please treat your symptoms."

Those who routinely take aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or a similar medication for another medical condition should not stop doing so before being vaccinated, Griffin said.

Any questions or concerns regarding the vaccine should be directed to one's physician for answers.

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