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VACCINE TEAM Q&A: Pain relievers, antibody tests & the immune system

Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 9:01 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -The NBC15 Vaccine Team is getting answers to your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. We’ve received questions on taking pain relievers, antibody tests and the vaccine’s impact on the immune system..

QUESTION: Will taking pain relievers interfere with the vaccine?

The CDC says you should take pain relievers after your shot, not before. Ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen are all safe to take, and should not impact how well the vaccine works. This message was echoed by Public Health Madison Dane County’s Director Janel Heinrich.

“Medication management can help alleviate some of the symptoms, the severity of the symptoms, but it doesn’t have an impact on the immune response. Again, contact your doctor, check out our website for more coronavirus vaccine questions,” Heinrich said.

QUESTION: Can you take an antibody test to see if you had the virus before the vaccine?

Yes! Doctors at UW Health say antibody tests could still work after you’ve been vaccinated. Since the vaccine generates a different type of protein in your body than the ones generated by the actual virus. Most antibody tests on the market are searching for the protein created by COVID-19, not ones created by the vaccine.

So, if you take a COVID-19 antibody test and it comes back positive, chances are you have had the virus.

Though, it’s important to note, just because you test positive for those virus-created antibodies, it does not mean you are immune or that you can skip getting your shot. As always, consult with your doctor.

QUESTION: How does the COVID-19 impact your immune system?

One viewer wondered if it could impact her immunity to other diseases. The short answer is, no--the vaccine will not impair your immune system.

The two coronavirus shots available right now use a small piece of the COVID-19 virus to give our cells instructions on how to fight off infection. Experts say it’s designed to give your body new knowledge, not change anything it already knows how to do.

“The vaccine doesn’t alter your immune system per se. It tells your system to activate a response when it sees this thing that might make you unhealthy. Regardless of your perceptions of the quality of your immune system, I would encourage folks to get vaccinated,” Heinrich said.

The bottom line here: Getting your coronavirus shot will make your immune system stronger, not weaker.

CLICK HERE to submit your own question.

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