South Korean Olympic judo team member An Ba-ul receives the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine during a vaccination program for the country's Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics team at the National Medical Center in Seoul on April 29, 2021. (AFP / Chung Sung-jun)

Posts tout unproven remedies for Covid-19 vaccination side effects

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Facebook posts have shared a list of purported remedies for the side effects of Covid-19 vaccination. The posts are misleading: health experts say some of the purported remedies have not been proven to be effective.

The list was shared here on Facebook on May 28, 2021.

The posts Korean-language caption translates to English as: “I see many struggling for one to three days after Covid-19 vaccination. Once you have your vaccination dates arranged, the following tips could help you minimise side effects.”

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post, taken on June 9, 2021.

The lengthy post lists six purported tips for preventing or minimising side effects associated with Covid-19 vaccination:

The misleading posts attribute the tips to "Rhee Joon-won", who is listed as a US-based medical specialist on his YouTube channel.

He gave a similar list of purported tips in this YouTube video. He did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.

A similar list of purported remedies has also been shared in Facebook posts here, here and here.

The posts, however, are misleading. Whilst some of the tips are not harmful, most of them have not been proven to reduce Covid-19 vaccination side effects, health experts say.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are medicines used to relieve the symptoms of allergies. They do not prevent side effects of Covid-19 vaccination, according to health experts. 

“Antihistamines are designed to mitigate certain allergic reactions, not to prevent them,” a spokesman for the Korean Pharmaceutical Association (KPA) told AFP on June 9, 2021.

Antihistamines also do not prevent rare severe allergic reactions from vaccines, or anaphylaxis, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an advisory published here on March 3, 2021.

Pain relievers

Contrary to the claim in the misleading posts, health authorities advise that taking acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen can help relieve pain following Covid-19 vaccination.

“We recommend taking acetaminophen, but if you can’t find them, ibuprofen or aspirin also could be used,” the Korean Medical Association advised here on June 7, 2021.

The Korean Pharmaceutical Association issued the same advice here on June 7, 2021.

Exercise and sunlight

There is no credible evidence that walking exercises and getting sunlight prevent or minimise Covid-19 vaccination side effects, according to a spokesman at the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). 

“KDCA rather advises against heavy exercise before receiving a Covid-19 jab as it is important to feel best on the day of the vaccination,” the spokesman told AFP on June 14, 2021. 

Vitamin supplements

There is also no clear evidence that vitamin supplements prevent vaccination side effects, experts say.

“Vitamins are known to counteract oxidative stress, but it is not clear if antioxidants, such as vitamins, can prevent side effects of Covid-19 vaccines,” Yum Ho-kee, a professor at Inje University Paik Hospital’s Department of Internal Medicine told AFP on June 9, 2021.

Deep sleep

Sleep improves general health but there is no evidence it prevents vaccination side effects either, Yum said. 

“The best way to recover from Covid-19 vaccination side effects is taking sufficient rest after the vaccination,” he said.

Staying hydrated

The CDC advises here on May 25, 2021 drinking “plenty of fluids” to reduce discomfort from any fever that might arise post-vaccination.

Vaccine side effects

Side effects after Covid-19 vaccination are “normal and not a cause for alarm,” according to a statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) published here on March 31, 2021.

COVID-19