Should I stop taking medication before receiving my COVID vaccine?

Tips for making your coronavirus vaccination process go smoothly

FILE - In this Monday, March 8, 2021 file photo, a health worker shows the media how she prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to a patient at a vaccination center set up in front of Rome's Termini central station. AstraZenecas release of encouraging data about its coronavirus vaccine from its U.S. trial raised hopes that the drug company could bury doubts about the shot and put a troubled rollout behind it. But just hours later, U.S. officials released an unusual statement expressing concerns AstraZeneca had included outdated information from its study and that it may have provided an incomplete view of the efficacy data. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File) (Alessandra Tarantino, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Coronavirus vaccinations are ramping up across Michigan and the U.S. in a major way -- but with new eligible groups comes new concerns.

Michigan COVID-19 vaccinations: How to find appointments, info on phases

In one sense, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine isn’t much different than getting any other vaccination, but there are a few specific things people should keep in mind to help the process go smoothly.

DOs and DONT’s for before, during and after your COVID-19 vaccination

  • DO make sure you eat something and are well hydrated before your appointment, so you feel your best.
  • DON’T skip your usual medications on the day of your vaccination, but DO avoid taking antihistamines, ibuprofen or acetaminophen if you don’t need to. The reason is a theoretic and unproven concern that these medications could reduce your response to the vaccine. Because the concern is theoretic, you shouldn’t worry if you do take these medications -- the advice is simply not to take them if it’s not necessary.
  • DO make sure to let the staff know of any allergies you might have, and plan on waiting for a 30-minute observation after the shot if your allergies are significant.
  • DO wear vaccination-friendly clothes that allow easy access to your upper arm. We recommend wearing layers with the last one being a short sleeve shirt or tank top.
  • DON’T lose your vaccination card -- you should bring it to your second appointment to be sure that you receive two doses of the same type of vaccine.
  • DO sign up for the CDC’s text-based symptom monitoring system called V-Safe right after you get your shot. It is an important tool that helps watch for any unusual problems. Learn more about V-Safe at the CDC’s website right here.
  • DON’T plan a heavy schedule the day after your shot. Most people feel fine the day after, but some people have a headache, fatigue and body aches.
  • DO be prepared if you’re asked about your availability to schedule the second shot in three to four weeks, depending on the vaccine you receive. Most vaccine sites schedule both appointments when you make the first one, but some don’t.
  • If you get the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine: DON’T miss that second shot -- it’s essential to reach your full protection against the virus. And if you miss your scheduled vaccination appointment, it can be difficult to reschedule.
  • DON’T think you’re invincible after you receive your vaccine. Continue to wear a mask in public and be sensible about unmasked contacts until two weeks after your last dose.
  • If you DO wish to show off your vaccine card on social media, be sure to put your finger over any personal information that might be visible.
Wellness Wednesday: Tips for smooth COVID vaccination process

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About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.