What you should and shouldn't do before getting your COVID-19 vaccine

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As of Tuesday, close to two million Texans had received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC.

With more vaccine set to arrive over the coming weeks, and thousands lined up to get their first dose, Action 13 is taking a look at what you should and should not do before getting the vaccine. We got some vaccine questions answered for you thanks to Dr. Robert Atmar, a professor of infectious disease at Baylor College of Medicine.

Question: If you've had another vaccine, like the shingles vaccine, are you supposed to wait before getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

"Yes. The recommendation is two weeks either before or after you get a different vaccine, and the reason for that is primarily because we don't know whether the response to that other vaccine or to the COVID-19 vaccine could be diminished. There could be some interaction or interference," said Dr. Robert Atmar, professor of infectious disease, Baylor College of Medicine.

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Atmar cautions though, if you step on a nail and need a tetanus shot or another vaccine more urgently don't wait to get it.

"If there's a real reason, a medical reason to get the vaccines closer together, we're not overly concerned," Atmar said.

Question: Does taking aspirin or ibuprofen ahead of the vaccine make it less effective?

"We don't really have an answer to that question. There have been some studies done in young children who've been vaccinated, where they've looked at the question of giving them medication that would decrease the likelihood that they develop a fever after vaccination. In some of those studies, the immune response was less robust, less than those who didn't take the medicine, so there's a theoretical concern."

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To note, the children he's referring to were not given the COVID-19 vaccine, he's just explaining the notion behind the theory. In fact, studies involving adolescents and the COVID-19 vaccine recently began, so data is not available. Rather, Atmar is just using that as an example as to why there's been some concern that pain relievers could impact the effectiveness of vaccines. His recommendation is to take medication after getting the vaccine, only if you need it, not before.

"The recommendation is, if you have symptoms where you feel like you need to take one of these medicines for relief, please go ahead and do so but don't take them routinely. Even though we use them quite frequently and they're relatively safe medications, we prefer people not to take medications that they don't need," said Atmar.

SEE ALSO: More than 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses head to Texas

Question: Should you get a COVID-19 test before getting vaccinated? What if you're asymptomatic and get the vaccine?

"There's not a concern about the safety if you're asymptomatically infected and get the COVID-19 vaccine. In the clinical studies that were done, we actually sampled people before they got their shot, on the day that they got their shot," said Atmar. He went on to add, "They had no more reactions than people who weren't asymptomatic infected. Since you, as the person receiving the shot, will be wearing a mask and the person vaccinating you will be wearing a mask and other personal protective equipment, there shouldn't be a significant risk of transmitting the virus to those doing the vaccination."

However, if you are not feeling well or have a fever, he says you need to wait until you're feeling better before getting vaccinated.

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