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VERIFY: Answering your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and over-the-counter medications

2 On Your Side is Verifying information about over-the-counter drug use and the vaccine.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — 2 On Your Side is getting a lot of questions from viewers about the COVID-19 vaccine.

QUESTION: "I got the Moderna 1st vaccine a week ago. Not knowing info that is now available, I had a baby aspirin the night before and my 200 mg Celebrex that a.m. My shot was given about 11:30 a.m. What effect would that have on my vaccine? When I get my 2nd shot how long should I wait to take those medications?"

To verify answers, we went to Dr. Thomas Russo, Chief of Infectious Disease at the University at Buffalo.

Dr. Russo says we have no data as to whether medications will impact the immune response with this vaccine.

"But, it's best to avoid any pre-medications, taking drugs beforehand. If you do develop symptoms, I think it's OK to take Tylenol first if necessary, and if you have really significant symptoms, and Tylenol is not getting it done, then I think it's OK to take non-steroidals such as Advil or Mortin," Dr. Thomas Russo said.

As for as how long you should wait after, Dr. Russo says you should only take pain medications if needed. 

Others want to know if they have to restart the vaccination process if they took an over-the-counter pain medication before getting their first dose. Dr. Russo says no.

"Please don't stress about it if you took one of these medications. I'm sure you're going to be fine. I'm sure you have a reasonable immune response, but when in doubt, if you wanted to avoid one of these medications after vaccination, I would probably avoid the non-steroidals or ibuprofen," Dr. Russo said.

Bottom line, Dr. Russo says talk to your doctor about the medicines you're taking before you get your vaccine.

QUESTION: "Can I take over-the-counter pain medication before getting the vaccine?"

"First, it's generally recommended that you should not pre-medicate before getting vaccinated. Do not take any Tylenol, or Mortin, or Advil in anticipation of perhaps reactogenic symptoms. That is because there is a theoretical possibility, and some data based on prior vaccines, that these medications could modify your immune response and obviously we want an optimal response when you're vaccinated," said Dr. Russo.

QUESTION: "What should I take if I don't feel well after getting the vaccine if I need an over-the-counter pain medication?"

"I would start with Tylenol. That is least likely to modify your immune response, however, if Tylenol is not adequate, then I think it would be okay to take non-steriodal such as ibuprofen, which is Mortin, or Advil. But in most instances, the reactogenic symptoms will only last for 24 hours. Local symptoms can be treated with a cool cloth. There is probably a greater concern that non-steroidals such as ibuprofen, which goes by the name Motrin or Advil, are more likely to modulate your immune response than Tylenol, so I would definitely start with Tylenol first. Obviously, if you're concerned that you want to develop the best immune response, if you could avoid taking any medications at all, then that would obviously maximize your chances of the possibility that these medications could affect that response," says Dr. Russo.

So, we can Verify that Dr. Russo says go with a cool cloth before reaching for the Tylenol or other medications.

If you have something you'd like us to Verify, send us an email at verify@wgrz.com, message us on social media, or text our Text 2 line at (716) 849-2200.