By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As COVID vaccines continue to roll out, admittedly with many bumps, many are asking how to minimize side effects from the shots.

One approach gaining acceptance is to pre-medicate before your vaccine.

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CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez explains what that means and why it may not be a good idea.


“In the first five to six hours, sore arm, a little tired. Woke up in the middle of the night with chills. Went back to sleep, woke up hot. Did not have a fever, but just uncomfortable,” said vaccine recipient Dr. Ala Stanford.

Those side effects to both of the COVID vaccines are pretty common, usually lasting only a day or two. Still, sometimes they’re uncomfortable enough that some people try to preempt them by taking pain- and fever-reducing meds before getting their shot.

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That can be acetaminophen, better known as Tylenol, or ibuprofen, brand names Advil and Motrin. But these medications may prevent parts of the immune system from working and slow down the immune response, reducing the vaccine’s effectiveness.


So some vaccine experts recommend not taking these meds before your vaccine, only if you develop a significant fever. Arm soreness goes away pretty quickly.

We should be clear that this is just a theoretical problem. There’s very little data one way or the other, so not to worry if you’ve already taken the drugs. But since the side effects are short-lived, avoid them just in case.

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Dr. Max Gomez