If You Take This Common Medication, Talk to a Doctor Before Your Vaccine

Officials say your vaccination provider should be made aware if you take this medicine.

Most people can safely get vaccinated for the coronavirus and should do soon whenever they can. However, there are some things you may need to discuss with your vaccination provider before you get the vaccine—not because they would make you ineligible, but so that your provider can watch out for certain reactions, give you extra care, or change certain vaccination methods. According to health officials, you should talk to your doctor or vaccination provider before getting the COVID vaccine if you are currently taking one common medication. Read on to find out if you'll need to alert your provider, and for more vaccine guidance, The CDC Says Don't Do This Within 2 Weeks of Your COVID Vaccine.

You should tell your vaccination provider if you are taking blood thinners.

Doctor talking to a senior patient at home
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a list of things you should "mention to your vaccination provider" before getting either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID vaccine—and that includes having a bleeding disorder or taking a blood thinner. Jason Reed, PharmD, founder of BestRxForSavings, says this is because blood thinners make you "more likely to have bruising, or bleeding under the skin, at the injection site."

Aaron Emmel, PharmD, founder and program director of PharmacyTechScholar, says your vaccination provider will be able to properly monitor the injection site for signs of excessive bleeding or bruising, otherwise known as a hematoma, if you let them know you are on a blood thinner. And for more expert advice, The CDC Says Don't Do This With the Second Dose of Your COVID Vaccine.

Your provider might change the way they administer the vaccine.

Senior man on a COVID-19 vaccination in a doctor's office during the pandemic.
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A vaccination provider might choose to change the way they administer the vaccine to reduce bleeding risks for people who are on blood thinners. This could include giving the shot "a little deeper into the muscle instead of just under the skin," according to Reed. Emmel adds that they would also "apply proper pressure to the injection site so that you do not have excessive bleeding."

Beth Beatriz, PhD, an epidemiologist and public health expert at Parenting Pod, says that knowing you are on a blood thinner will also help your vaccination provider choose an appropriately gauged needle when giving the vaccine, which could be narrower than the standard needle to limit your possibility of bleeding. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Your doctor may advise you to change your medication dosage right before vaccination.

Female doctor consults mature patient during the quarantine for coronavirus
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You'll also want to specifically talk to the doctor who prescribed you your blood thinner medication before getting vaccinated, as they may choose to alter your dosage. According to Reed, this is unlikely, but a doctor might advise a patient to skip a dose of their medication prior to the vaccine if they tend to bruise more easily than others. However, Emmel warns that you should not stop taking your medication unless that has been advised by your doctor, as doing so could "increase your risk of blood clots." And for more medication concerns, If You're Using This OTC Medication, Stop Now, FDA Says.

Taking blood thinners shouldn't stop you from getting the vaccine.

Masked senior getting a vaccine while at the pharmacy by a female pharmacist.
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Experts stress that taking a blood thinner doesn't mean you shouldn't get the COVID vaccine. In fact, Reed says that those who take a blood thinner usually "have a condition that puts them at higher risk for the virus," which actually means they should get the vaccine as soon as possible to avoid severe infection.

"The benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweigh any potential for serious bleeding," says Robert Bona, MD, Yale Medicine hematologist and oncologist and director of the Hemophilia Treatment Center. "And there is no evidence that this could affect the vaccine's effectiveness." And for more things to know before getting the vaccine, The CDC Is Warning You Not to Do This Right Before You Get Vaccinated.

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