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Is it dangerous to take anesthetics after getting a COVID-19 vaccination?

This article was published on
June 23, 2021

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There is no scientific evidence to suggest that taking an anesthetic after getting any COVID-19 vaccine is life-threatening or in any way dangerous. Anesthetics do, however, have the potential to reduce the effectiveness of a vaccine if taken soon after a vaccine is received.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that taking an anesthetic after getting any COVID-19 vaccine is life-threatening or in any way dangerous. Anesthetics do, however, have the potential to reduce the effectiveness of a vaccine if taken soon after a vaccine is received.

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What our experts say

An anesthetic is a type of drug that is used to temporarily numb the feeling of pain or to put someone to sleep for a short time. It is typically used in tests and surgeries that are going to be painful or invasive. There are two main types of anesthetics: local anesthetics and general anesthetics. Local anesthetics are used to numb just a small part of the body temporarily while the person stays fully awake. General anesthetics are used to make a person completely unconscious or “put to sleep” temporarily. 

There is no evidence to suggest that either type of anesthetics are life-threatening or dangerous to use after getting any COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine manufacturers have not issued any warning labels on any dangers of taking an anesthetic after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Anesthetics could make a COVID-19 vaccine less effective. This is because a vaccine interacts with the immune system, and so does anesthesia, which can interfere with how a vaccine teaches the body to fight infection. The American Society of Anesthesiologists recommends waiting at least two weeks after your final dose before getting surgery that will use anesthetics. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention simply recommends speaking to your doctor.

Every case is different. It is best to talk to a doctor before making a decision about surgery with anesthetics, or taking any immuno-suppressing medication or additional therapy (even basic pain-killers such as ibuprofen). Delaying surgery or treatment unnecessarily can come with its own set of risks. These recommendations are made to ensure that the vaccine itself is fully protective, not because there is a threat of any harm.

Context and background

A post has been circulating on social media claiming that anyone vaccinated against COVID-19 cannot take anesthetics because doing so is life-threatening. The post included a story of a vaccinated man dying after receiving local anesthesia in a dentist’s office. Taking anesthesia soon after receiving a vaccination has the potential to reduce the effectiveness of a vaccine, but does not have the potential to cause harm.

Resources

  1. COVID-19 Has Changed Surgery Forever (American Society of Anesthesiologists)
  2. Anaesthesia (National Health Service)
  3. COVID-19 Vaccination and Other Medical Procedures (The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  4. Vaccine Recommendations and Guidelines of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  5. Implications of anesthesia and vaccination (Pediatric Anesthesia)

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