When to Get your Mammogram after Your COVID-19 Vaccine

Doctor and patient with protective face masks during the medical examinationAs we see the success that has been achieved with the COVID-19 vaccine, more people are committing to getting theirs. As women determine that it is in their best interest to get vaccinated against this illness that has ravaged the entire world’s population, there is a little something they should know. While it is incredibly beneficial to get vaccinated against COVID-19, doing so could affect a woman’s mammogram. For this reason, it is recommended that mammogram screenings occur 4 or more weeks after the final vaccination. 

Studies performed in the early part of the year indicated that two vaccines in particular may cause swollen lymph nodes. These were the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. However, that doesn’t mean the side effect is limited to these two options. With newer vaccines becoming available all the time, the chances of swollen lymph nodes could expand to them, as well. This side effect in and of itself is not concerning. However, it could cause concern if swollen lymph nodes show up on a woman’s mammogram. 

How Could a COVID Vaccine Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes?

The lymphatic system and the immune system work together to sustain health. The body has lymph nodes in the groin, abdomen, neck, chest, and under the arms. Here alone, we may have 20 to 40 lymph nodes. These small glands are involved in combating infection and disease by using white blood cells. The lymph nodes filter the blood for waste and foreign particles. When one is found, the immune system sends white blood cells to destroy it. The influx of these infection-fighting cells is what causes the lymph nodes to swell. 

Studies related to the COVID-19 vaccine and lymph node swelling have discovered that the side effect tends to occur on whichever side of the body the shot was administered. In clinical trials, about 16% of patients aged 18 to 64 experienced this side effect after their first or second injection. 

Lymph node swelling can be concerning. People worry that they may have an illness that requires medical treatment. When this swelling occurs within a week or so after getting the vaccine, it should resolve on its own. This usually happens in 6 to 10 weeks. 

Women need their COVID-19 vaccines and they also need their routine or diagnostic breast screenings. If you plan to receive your vaccine, simply schedule your mammogram accordingly. If you have questions about the best timing, we’re happy to help. Contact PURE Mammography on Long Island at 631-652-3424 to speak with a friendly member of our team. 

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