No one really knows why some people have many side effects and others have none. We know that younger people have a stronger immune response to vaccines than older ones, whose immune system weakens with age. Women typically have a stronger immune response than men. But again, these differences do not mean that you are not protected if you do not feel much after getting the shot.
Researchers are still unsure how effective the vaccines are in people whose immune systems may be weakened by certain medical conditions, such as cancer treatment or HIV infection, or because they are taking immunosuppressive drugs. However, most experts believe that the vaccines still give these patients some protection against Covid-19.
The point is that although individual immune responses may vary, the data collected so far show that all three vaccines approved in the United States – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – are effective against severe disease and death from Covid-19. .
Question: I took Tylenol before I got my Covid vaccine shots and had very little reaction to the shots. Did I make a big mistake?
You should not try to ward off discomfort by taking a painkiller before getting the shot. The concern is that premedication with a painkiller like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), which can prevent side effects like soreness in the arm as well as fever or headaches, can also blunt your body’s immune response.
29 May 2021, 10:26 ET
While it is possible to take a painkiller before your shots may have dampened your body’s immune response, vaccine experts say you should not worry and you should not try to get another round of replacement shots. Studies of other vaccines suggest that while premedication may dull the body’s immune response to a vaccine, your immune system may still mount a strong enough defense to fight infection. An examination of studies of more than 5,000 children compared antibody levels in children who took painkillers before and after vaccinations and those who did not. They found that painkillers did not have a meaningful effect on the immune response and that children in both groups generated adequate levels of antibodies after their shots.
The high effectiveness of all Covid vaccines suggests that even if you take Tylenol before the shot dulls your body’s immune response, there is some wiggle room and you are probably still well protected against Covid-19. “You need to feel reassured that you are getting enough of an immune response that you will be protected, especially for vaccines that are so good,” said Dr. Offit.
Question: How about taking a painkiller after the shot?
“It’s OK to treat” side effects with an analgesic, said Dr. Offit, but if you do not really need one, “do not take it.”