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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.
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.
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