Teenagers aged 15 to 18 years taking the COVID vaccine must not take paracetamol without consulting a doctor.
The advice by health experts was issued in response to growing concerns that some immunisation centres are telling the teens to take three paracetamol 500 mg tablets after receiving the vaccine. Taking paracetamol, a common pain reliever, thus can harm children, a report in ANI said.
To combat the surge of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, the government has begun administering the vaccines to teenagers aged 15 to 18. Only Covaxin has been recommended for this age group.
“Paracetamol is not recommended as prophylaxis, before and after any COVID vaccination as we don’t know how it alters the immune response of the vaccine,” Dr Akshay Budhraja, Sr Consultant, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Aakash Healthcare, was quoted as saying.
“Giving paracetamol to children (15-18 years old) who are receiving COVID vaccines is not recommended. It is because it has the potential to cause hepatotoxicity (liver damage caused by drug exposure),” added Dr Col Vijay Dutta, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre.
Also read: Efficacy of boosters likely to decline, fourth shot may be needed: Moderna CEO
If children develop a fever after receiving the vaccine, “they should be given Mefenamic acid or Meftal syrup”, while paracetamol is safe for adults over the age of 18 with fever, Dr Dutta said.
A low-grade fever, muscle ache, lethargy, headache, and soreness at the injection site are common in the first two days after vaccination, but usually subside on their own.
“If the fever persists or the intensity increases then paracetamol or another painkiller is advised after consultation with a physician. So, paracetamol is to be taken only after consultation and not as prophylaxis for fever, which happens because of the immune response of the body to the vaccine components,” Dr Budhraja explained.
Bharat Biotech has also issued a statement saying that no painkillers or paracetamol are recommended following the inoculation.
According to health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, India has achieved a one-crore vaccination milestone for the 15 to 18 age group against COVID till Wednesday, after the beginning of the drive on January 3.