May 20, 2022

Covid vaccine: When should you take paracetamol – before or after?

The first recorded case of COVID-19 in the UK was on January 29, 2020 at RAF Brize Norton. Less than two months later, the UK, along with the rest of the world, was in lockdown. For a time, it had been hoped that it would be relatively short-lived like the 2009 swine flu pandemic which did not result in any of the restrictions seen with COVID-19. This was not to be the case and, two years later, restrictions are still in place in one form or another.

As with the swine flu pandemic, vaccines have played a major role in reducing transmission, serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths.

As with other vaccines, there has been debate about their effectiveness, how quickly they were created and, for some, the reasons for their creation.

In this context, it was a question of how to manage the side effects of the vaccine.

Every vaccine has side effects and COVID vaccines are no different.

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The NHS lists potential side effects as follows:
• A sore arm
• Feeling tired
• A headache
• Feeling sore
• Feeling or being sick

Regarding painkillers, the NHS adds that they can be taken “if you need them”.


Commonly used in hospitals, it is one of the strongest pain relievers available and can be prescribed as a patch, pump or injection.

Most painkillers, if taken too long, can have serious health consequences, including severe side effects and addiction.

As a result, any prescription for a strong painkiller will be closely monitored by your GP.

For more information about the side effects of ibuprofen and paracetamol, see the leaflet that comes with the medicine or consult the NHS.