Children undergoing Covid vaccination must not take paracetamol, a common pain reliever, without first consulting, city doctors advised on Friday.
The advice was issued in response to growing concerns that some immunisation centres are advising children to take three paracetamol 500 mg tablets after receiving the Covid vaccine. Taking paracetamol without consulting a doctor can harm children, the health experts warned.
“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,” said Dr. Akshay Budhraja, Sr. Consultant, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Aakash Healthcare.
“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) in them,” added Dr. Col.Vijay Dutta, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre.
A low-grade fever, muscle ache, lethargy, headache, soreness at the injection site is common in the first two days after vaccination, which usually subsides on its own, without any medication.
“However, if the fever persists or the intensity increases then paracetamol or other 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,” Budhraja added.
If children develop a fever after receiving the Covid vaccine, “they should be given Mefenamic acid or Meftal syrup”, while paracetamol is safe for adults over the age of 18 with fever, Dutta said.
Previously, Bharat Biotech, which developed India’s first indeginous Covid vaccine, also issued a statement that no painkillers or paracetamol are recommended following the inoculation.
To combat the increasing cases of Covid driven by the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, the government has begun administering the Covid vaccination to teenagers aged 15 to 18.
Only Covaxin has been recommended for vaccinating teenagers.
According to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, India has achieved one crore vaccination milestone for people between the 15-18 age group against Covid-19 till Wednesday, since the beginning of the drive on January 3.
India’s adult Covid inoculation has also reached 149.66 crore as of Friday morning.
Meanwhile, India on Friday registered a single-day rise of 1,17,100 new Covid cases, a significant rise from the previous day’s 90,928 cases, in a span of 24 hours. The country’s Omicron infection tally has reached 3,007.