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Skin and the Covid-19 vaccine


Covid-19 vaccination numbers will be boosted with the first New Zealand mass vaccinations finally starting.  Most people are flying through the process apart from mild discomfort at the injection site.  The second vaccine has tended to have a few more side effects, but this is just your body building immunity. Skin reactions and allergic are rare and generally fortunately mild.  It is common is to have some discomfort at the injection site, plan for an early night and extra fluids, a cool compress may help.  You are advised not to massage the site.

A recent study by dermatologists included the Pfizer vaccine, this was less likely to be associated with skin reactions than the Moderna vaccine. Most reactions are at the vaccination site but rare delayed episodes of welts (urticaria), viral mimic rashes and flares of existing skin conditions are reported along with classic chilblains.  Small numbers of a viral condition called pityriasis rosea have been noted and very rarely the shingles virus - zoster was reactivated.  These rare reports are not reasons not to be vaccinated but talk to your doctor if you have been recently unwell and your appointment is coming up, a short delay might be advised until your health is optimal.  Keep up your usual treatments for any existing skin conditions in discussion with your doctor.

Vaccine reactions are encouraged to be reported, doing this builds a knowledge bank about the vaccines. Do take photos and discuss with your dermatologist or GP if concerned.  The Ministry of Health Covid-19 website has a link to report vaccine related side effects and information on what to expect after vaccination. While it mentions you can take paracetamol or ibuprofen after vaccination there is little research on this and how this changes the way the vaccine works. Do not take these before vaccination unless they are your regular medication. First aim for rest, fluids, a cool compress if needed for the day after vaccination  rather than heading out on the town or doing a marathon gym workout.