It is safe to say that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made a lot of people change their plans and priorities. Whatever your plans were, we are sure you either had to cancel or postpone them, which sucked and probably still sucks.
But, with the discovery of the COVID-19 vaccine, things did start to return to normality in some countries and places, enabling people to pursue their plans and wishes. For example, my wish was to get a tattoo.
However, now there is an issue of the relation between tattoos and vaccines. Many people cannot help but wonder whether they can get vaccinated and then get a tattoo, and vice versa. How does one affect the other, and should we yet again reschedule and move our plans until we are fully vaccinated?
If you’re wondering about the same thing, you’re at the right place. In the following paragraphs we’ll explore everything we know so far about tattoos and COVID vaccines, so let’s get started!
Tattoos and COVID Vaccines: Everything We Need to Know
1. Why Is There A Concern In The First Place?
It is safe to say that tattoo artists don’t have a clear answer about the relation between COVID vaccines and tattoos just yet. But, one thing tattooists and doctors can agree on is the cause for concern.
Now, getting a tattoo is a process that creates an open wound on the skin, which the body recognizes as the priority in healing. The lymphatic system does its things, so the white blood cells are transferred to the tattooed area to start the healing process. All of this triggers an immune response, which, in the case of an already impaired immune system, can make a person feel pretty sick.
But, why are we talking about this?
Well, as we know so far, COVID vaccines do cause certain side effects; the majority of the side effects can be described as a person feeling sick for a few days and even developing a fever. As if you’ve got COVID, but instead of the virus, it’s the vaccine and it’s safe.
So, the concern arises from the following issues; if a person gets vaccinated, they will probably experience some of the side effects which could impair the immune system. If the same person gets a tattoo soon after vaccination, their body might not be able to handle both issues at once, so they might experience tattoo healing issues and prolonged recovery from the vaccination.
2. Should I Wait To Get Tattoed Before/After Vaccination?
Vaccine side effects include pain, fatigue, soreness, tiredness, potential blood clotting issues, and fever in severe cases. The blood clotting issues are reported with Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which could play an essential role in one’s deciding whether or not to get a tattoo after vaccination.
Doctors emphasize the importance of waiting for a few days, even up to a few weeks to get tattooed after vaccination, just to avoid any potential issues with blood clotting. This especially applies to people who are taking blood clotting medication.
So, should you wait to get tattooed after vaccination? It is most certainly advisable to do so. Anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months is a recommended period in which you should not avoid getting tattooed, or vaccinated after a tattoo. It can take the blood clotting issue two weeks to occur and stop, so better be safe than sorry.
The same applies to a scenario where you just got a new tattoo and you want to get vaccinated. In such a case doctor advise the same; wait for up to 2 weeks minimum, to get vaccinated.
We do have to emphasize that all of this information is not yet completely clear, but this is what we know so far and what the doctors and tattoo artists have talked about and provided as guidelines for now.
3. Is It Safe To Vaccinate Within a Tattoo?
Now, let’s say you already got a tattoo that has healed, and you want to get vaccinated. The tattoo is placed somewhere on the upper arm, where vaccination is also traditionally performed. Now, it is safe to get vaccinated within the tattoo?
Well, some studies have looked into the issues of receiving a COVID vaccine shot within a tattoo, considering that shoulder and upper arm tattoos are some of the most popular ones, especially for men.
Here are some of the findings and concerns of the latest research;
So, far, there is no evidence showing that puncturing or vaccinating a tattooed area (which is repeatedly tattooed skin) exposed individuals to infection risks. However, since the COVID vaccination is unprecedented and fairly new, health concerns do exist.
For example, there is an issue regarding the tattoo pigment being introduced into the blood circulation during vaccination. There is a possibility of introducing harmful particles during vaccination, which can then cause infections and reactions. There was one case of a military recruit receiving a smallpox vaccine within the tattooed area, and later developing smallpox symptoms in that particular area.
But, these issues haven’t been studied, especially in the case of COVID-19 vaccines. It remains to be seen what the future research will show in regards to the health concerns of getting COVID vaccine shots within tattoos.
It is safe to say that the current research is based mostly on the fears and misconceptions of healthcare providers. But, in regards to how new the COVID vaccine is, it is safer to follow some tattooing or vaccination guidelines, until we get a clearer picture of how tattooing affects vaccination and vice versa.
4. Are There Any Recommendations On How To Get Vaccinated With a Tattoo, or Vice Versa?
Yes, there are some current recommendations by doctors and tattoo artists on how to get vaccinated if you have a tattoo, or get tattooed if you got vaccinated;
- You should only get vaccinated if a tattoo is fully healed. It is not recommended to get vaccinated with a fresh tattoo. If you just got a tattoo, it is recommended to wait at least a month to get a vaccine shot.
- One should choose to receive a vaccine shot in the arm that is not tattooed.
- One should not get a tattoo after vaccination. We’ve mentioned one should wait at least 2 weeks, but it is recommended to wait even between 30 and 60 days.
- If both of the arms are tattooed, the individual could try and get vaccinated by choosing a space within a tattoo that is without pigment.
- If one wants to get tattooed after vaccination, it is essential not to place the tattoo in the same area where one received a vaccine shot. Chances are one gets experience skin swelling and redness otherwise.
- It is not recommended to get a tattoo in between vaccination. Once you get your 2nd vaccine dose or your get revaccinated, then you can continue getting tattoos. In cases of one-dose vaccines, you should wait at least a month to get a tattoo after vaccination.
It is essential to mention that one of the most important things about getting tattooed during these times is to wear a mask and practice social distancing, even if you’re vaccinated. This is something doctors and tattoo artists always emphasize and need people to follow as an important rule on both appointments, the vaccine and the tattoo one.
5. Why Is It More Important To Get Vaccinated Than Tattooed?
Considering that, unfortunately, the pandemic is nowhere to being over, it is important to reconsider our priorities once again. Getting a tattoo is a big part of one’s life since it marks an era or a period of your life, a unique experience or simply shows off your creativity.
But, in times like these, it is better to undergo immunization and stay healthy than getting tattooed. However, no one is saying that you shouldn’t get tattooed. You can surely do so, but with more planning and a slight change in priorities. It is important to get vaccinated, contribute to bringing down the number of cases, and play a role in our lives returning to normal.
Since the issue of tattoos and COVID vaccines is yet to be studied and explored, this is all we have on this topic for now. Until doctors and researchers come out with new information, all we can do is wait between vaccines and tattoos and try to patient. Sure, it’s hard to keep putting your wishes aside, but until the pandemic is over, it is important to lay the priorities straight and value immunization more than a tattoo.