As more and more Americans are able to become vaccinated against COVID-19, those living with preexisting or underlying conditions are often among the first in line.
However, many people who belong in that group also take daily medications to manage these conditions. If you’re one of those people, you may be wondering how or if the vaccine will interact with the drugs you’re currently taking.
The COVID-19 vaccines currently being distributed in the United States have been found by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA to be both safe and effective for most everyone. But of course everyone's situation is different, and it’s normal to have questions about how exactly the vaccine may affect you.
It’s incredibly rare, but it is possible for there to be interactions between vaccines and some medications. For example, some vaccines can make medication work differently for a short time, or certain medications can make vaccines less effective. Read below to get the info you need about the COVID-19 vaccine and your medications.
Yes, you should still get the vaccine as soon as you’re able. While we still don’t know at this point if the vaccine can affect your medications, what we do know about how it works suggests that the chance of a negative reaction between the vaccine and any medication is extremely small. No matter what medication you’re currently taking, getting the vaccine is of the utmost importance
If you take medication because you are living with an underlying medical condition, it is even more important that you try to get vaccinated, regardless of the meds you take. This is because those with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk of having increased severity of symptoms from COVID-19.
These underlying conditions include but are not limited to:
There is a chance that some medications, particularly steroids and anti-inflammatory medications, will affect how you respond to the vaccine by making it less effective for you. For example, studies have shown that children who were given a fever-reducing medicine, like acetaminophen (Tylenol), right before being vaccinated made those vaccinations less effective. But this decreased effectiveness was not significant, and in fact the vaccine still worked well enough to protect these children in the real world.
Experts believe that for the COVID-19 vaccine, it is likely that the same thing will happen; the vaccine will probably prove to be slightly less effective in people who take anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressant medications than for those who do not take those medications. But especially for those who need these medications, any degree of immunity from COVID-19 will help to keep you safe protected from the coronavirus.
If you are allergic to any of the vaccine ingredients — especially PEG (polyethylene glycol) or polysorbate — you should not get the COVID vaccine, regardless of whatever other medications you may be on. It is still unclear whether taking other medications changes your risk of having an allergic reaction to the vaccine or not.
In general, most patients should continue to take your medications normally and to keep yourself safe by getting vaccinated as soon as you can. If you take medication regularly and have concerns about what that may mean for getting the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s always a good idea to talk to your provider, or one of our pharmacists here at Medly. We can help you determine how likely it is that your specific medication could be affected.