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By Keith Roach, M.D. on

DEAR DR. ROACH: Is it advisable or inadvisable to take naproxen sodium at the time of COVID-19 vaccination to alleviate potential side effects of the vaccine? -- B.S.

ANSWER: Although some studies have shown that people who get a fever reducer such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) at the time of a vaccine have lower antibody titers, not all studies have shown this, and those that have still showed an adequate antibody level. Booster vaccines showed a "robust" response.

Having had the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine myself and in observing many of my colleagues, I would say very few have had systemic side effects, such as fever, bad enough to be concerning. A sore arm has generally been the worst. Anecdotally, however, the second vaccine does seem to cause more side effects, perhaps a bit more than a typical flu vaccine but less than the new shingles vaccine.

If you have had side effects of this or other vaccines, taking acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen beforehand is reasonable; otherwise, I would wait a few hours to see if you need one.

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Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu or send mail to 628 Virginia Dr., Orlando, FL 32803.

(c) 2021 North America Syndicate Inc.

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