Don't Do This Within 2 Weeks of Your COVID Vaccine, Doctors Warn

If you're getting this treatment and plan to get vaccinated, you need to hold off, experts say.

The United States' COVID-19 vaccine program is rolling out at an increasing pace across the country. With new vaccination locations opening up and new vaccines becoming available, if you haven't already gotten an appointment, you likely will in the very near future, as President Joe Biden says there will be enough vaccine in May for all adults in the U.S. to get their shots. The expansion of the vaccine program makes it increasingly important to be aware of how to prepare for your shot and how to recuperate in the aftermath. In addition to being wary about taking over-the-counter medications and getting other shots too close to your COVID vaccine, experts are now warning people to not get this common treatment within two weeks of their shot. Read on to find out what it is, and for what you could experience after your dose, check out The One Side Effect That's Much More Common With Pfizer, Data Shows.

Doctors are advising that you don't do any steroid shots close to your COVID vaccine.

Calendar circled for COVID vaccine
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The Spine Intervention Society's (SIS) interim advice is currently to keep a period of two weeks between your COVID vaccine and your regular steroid shots. "It may be prudent, based on indirect evidence, to schedule elective corticosteroid injection approximately two weeks before vaccine administration and no later than one week before vaccine administration to avoid potential decrease in immunogenicity of the mRNA vaccines," they advise.

While some other experts' timelines vary slightly, the general consensus is the same. Michaela Schneiderbauer, MD, of Southern Vermont Health Care recently wrote: "While conclusive evidence is not yet available to recommend for or against using steroids around COVID-19 vaccinations, the providers at SVMC Orthopedics are recommending that our patients hold steroid injections in the two weeks before and one week after administration of COVID-19 vaccine." And for more COVID news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

While there is no proof of any issues, experts are erring on the side of caution at the present time.

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The SIS stresses that "there is no direct evidence that corticosteroid injection renders the vaccine ineffective," and that given "potentially unique circumstances related to each individual patient, including COVID-19 risk factors, potential morbidity/mortality from the illness, and the nature of indications for the corticosteroid injection, an injection may be appropriate inside of the optimal waiting periods."

Family medicine physician Neha Vyas, MD, agrees with that notion, adding that common sense and flexibility are essential. "You have to look at the risk and benefits," she told the Cleveland Clinic. "If you are in excruciating pain and you can't walk—and you can be at risk for getting a blood clot if you don't walk—then get the steroid injection."

But where possible and where your doctor advises it, the current advice is to wait if you can. And for another activity you should avoid around your shot, check out Don't Do This Two Hours Before or After Your Vaccine, Doctors Warn.

This is typically the case surrounding vaccines and other medical treatments.

Shot of a young man taking medication while standing at home during the day.
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There is nothing unusual about the COVID vaccines in this sense. In short, like all vaccines, they trigger a response from your immune system and while your body is temporarily behaving differently as a result of that, regular medical treatments may go differently.

For example, because a small number of people experienced facial swelling from the Moderna vaccine, doctors don't recommend that you book dermal fillers during the two weeks on either side of your vaccination. "What's going on is that we want a robust immune response from the COVID-19 vaccine. So anything that would interfere with it should be avoided," Vyas says. And for more about Moderna, check out The One Side Effect That's Much More Common With Moderna, Data Shows.

Talk to your doctor before altering your treatment plan.

gray haired woman getting a covid vaccine from young female doctor
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All experts stress that before altering any treatment you're receiving, steroid injections included, ahead of your COVID vaccine, you must speak to your doctor. "Talk to your provider about when it would be safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine because there are always exceptions to every rule," Vyas says. "Cancer therapies, immune suppression or if you have a rheumatologic disease and you need certain shots or injections every month, don't put those off."

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also advises that you should make your vaccine provider aware if you have any of the following conditions: allergies; fever; a bleeding disorder or you're on blood thinners; are immunocompromised; are pregnant or planning to become pregnant; are breastfeeding; have received another COVID-19 vaccine. This will ensure that your vaccination goes according to plan.

But in general, Vyas says, people with preexisting conditions shouldn't worry. "If you have hypertension or another common medical condition, you can have a little more peace of mind knowing that they did studies and trials on the COVID-19 vaccines which included people with the same conditions. The good news is that they responded well to the vaccines. So, don't change any of your regular medications," she says. And for more on how long the vaccine keeps you safe, check out Dr. Fauci Says Your COVID Vaccine Protects You For This Long.

John Quinn
John Quinn is a London-based writer and editor who specializes in lifestyle topics. Read more
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