Is armpit pain after covid vaccine or booster shot a normal symptom?

If you or someone you know suffers from armpit pain after receiving a covid-19 vaccine or booster shot here’s what you need to know.

Armpit pain is a recognized side effect of covid Moderna and Pfizer -BioNTech vaccines – those using mRNA (messenger RNA) technology. When it can be painful it is usually completely normal and usually does not require medical intervention.

This reaction has been observed in Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine trials and is a normal reaction of the immune system. For this reason, doctors are keen to allay fears about painful armpit reactions. and avoid unnecessary testing or treatment for something that will resolve itself in a short time.

According to the New York Times, 11.6% of patients in the Moderna study had such a reaction after the first dose and 16% after the second, while with Pfizer-BioNTech the reported rate was lower, at only 0.3% of participants.

What causes armpit pain from covid-19 vaccines?

Armpit pain is caused by swollen lymph nodes in the area. The lymph nodes, small bean-shaped glands, are an important part of the immune system and those in the armpit are closest to the vaccine injection site. The lymph nodes become swollen and painful as they do their job and react to the introduction of the vaccine, which stimulates the immune system.

The booster shots have the same formulation as the standard vaccine, although the Moderna booster is half a dose compared to the primary series.

According to the President of the American Medical Association, Gerald Harmon, “The data presented…showed that adverse events following mRNA booster doses are similar or lower than those observed after the series of primary vaccines.

How to Treat Armpit Pain

Medical advice recommends the following to treat armpit pain due to swollen lymph nodes caused by the covid-19 vaccine:

– rest

– drink plenty of fluids

– taking painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (do not give aspirin to children under 16; always be careful when taking paracetamol that no other product you are taking also contains paracetamol – an overdose can be very dangerous, causing life-threatening damage to your liver).

The problem of mammograms and swollen lymph nodes

Doctors say it’s best to schedule mammograms at least a month after your last dose of the mRNA vaccine because swollen lymph nodes can look like the first signs of breast cancer on exam. However, if the postponement meant a long wait, the general recommendation would be to go ahead with the mammogram, but tell your healthcare provider that you have recently received a covid-19 vaccine.

When to call a doctor with armpit pain from covid-19 vaccination

Armpit pain can affect the ability of vaccinees to go about their daily activities, especially sports or physical labor. The CDC recommends calling a doctor or health care provider if side effects have become “worrying” or don’t “seem to disappear after a few days”.

Other information about the covid-19 vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following information on covid-19 vaccines, stating that the covid-19 vaccines are “safe and effective”. This has been demonstrated in industry standard trials, and “millions of people in the United States have received covid-19 vaccines under the most intense security surveillance in US history”.

The CDC’s recommendation is that anyone over the age of five gets vaccinated as soon as possible to protect against covid-19 and the potentially serious complications it can cause, including death, even in young patients.

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