Facebook posts give incorrect advice on preparing for the Covid-19 vaccination

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Facebook posts shared thousands of times allegedly contain tips on how people should prepare to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. The claims are misleading: According to health experts, many of the alleged tips have not been proven to prevent the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The claim was shared here on Facebook on May 14, 2021. It has been shared more than 2,000 times.

“6 things to do before you get vaccinated,” the Thai claim reads.

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post from May 27, 2021

The long post contains supposed tips to prevent the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccination.

“You shouldn’t drink coffee before you get the Sinovac vaccine,” it says.

“If you receive AstraZeneca, you should take fish oil supplements for 1-2 weeks before vaccination, as the side effects of AstraZeneca are blood clots and fish oil can help.”

Swiss Post also recommends: Avoiding migraine medication; to sleep well; and drink plenty of water before your appointment. It also suggests that people should get their push in the morning, not the afternoon.

It is said that pregnant women and people with fever should not be vaccinated, while cancer patients “should eat 200 mg flaxseed and ingest chelated magnesium for 1-2 weeks before vaccination”.

“You should have a cup of natto (Japanese beans) before vaccination. Because it contains nattokinase, the enzyme that breaks down blood clots. “

As of May 25, Thailand has administered more than 3.1 million doses of AstraZeneca and Sinovac Covid-19.

A number of countries, including Thailand, have temporarily suspended the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine due to concerns about rare cases of blood clotting. Scientists say the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks.

Identical claims were shared here, here, here, and here on Facebook.

However, the claims are misleading.

drink coffee

This claim appears to be due to cases of palpitations in people who received the Sinovac coronavirus sting in Thailand.

The Thai Ministry of Health reported 150 cases of palpitations in people who received the vaccine, but said they “recovered the same day”.

Dr. Thiravat Hemachudha, an infectious disease specialist at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, said there was no reason people couldn’t drink coffee before they got a Covid-19 vaccine.

“Sinovac side effects can include palpitations. However, you can have coffee as long as you know the amount of coffee you should drink without getting palpitations,” he said.

According to the British Heart Foundation, drinking four to five cups of coffee a day doesn’t lead to abnormal heart rhythms for most people.

Fish oil supplements

Dr. Thiravat said it was “wrong” for people to take fish oil supplements before receiving the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

“While fish oil can help protect blood vessels, it is only long-term. It’s not proven to prevent blood clots, ”he said.

Dr. Thira Woratanarat, Associate Professor in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at Chulalongkorn University, said, “There is no academic evidence that fish oil can minimize the side effects of Covid-19 vaccines.”

Pregnant woman

Health experts recommend pregnant women get vaccinated against Covid-19.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the UK public health authority, Public Health England, pregnant women with Covid-19 are more likely than non-pregnant people to get seriously ill.

AFP previously debunked a claim that Covid-19 vaccines pose a risk to pregnancy here.

Fever claim

The CDC does not advise against getting the vaccine if you have a “mild illness” as indicated in this pre-vaccination checklist for Covid-19 vaccines.

One part of the document states: “Mild diseases are NOT contraindications to vaccination”.

However, it is currently recommended that vaccination be postponed in “moderate or severe acute illness” until symptoms improve.

Dr. Thiravat said, “It is recommended that you reschedule your appointment if you have a fever and identify the cause of your fever as soon as possible.”

Cancer patients

Experts recommend cancer patients as a high priority group for vaccination, according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a US-based nonprofit network for cancer centers.

However, people who have just received a stem cell transplant or have received CAR-T cell therapy, or people who are typically receiving immunosuppressive therapy, are advised to postpone the Covid-19 vaccination for at least three months after treatment is complete. The advice is published here on the American National Cancer Institute website.

Due to the varying degrees of severity of cancer, patients should speak to their doctors about whether or not they should receive a Covid-19 vaccination.

Natto and Magnesium

Dr. Thira said “there is no scientific evidence” that taking magnesium can prevent side effects of the vaccine.

Also, there’s no evidence that ingesting soy-based Japanese natto can prevent the side effects of a coronavirus bite.

Although there are studies showing the benefits of nattokinase – the enzyme produced during the fermentation process of natto – in breaking up blood clots, scientists have not recommended it to people receiving Covid-19 vaccines.

Side effects vary

According to health experts, the possible side effects of vaccines vary from person to person.

Dr. Thiravat said, “Vaccines are like an unknown affair to our bodies. This is why our bodies respond by designing the inflammatory process to resist it. This reaction varies from person to person. ”

The most common side effects of the sting are arm pain, fever, and fatigue, according to the World Health Organization.

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