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Doc says to wait on routine mammograms if you just got COVID vaccine booster

Six-week wait period only applies to screening mammograms and not to those required for diagnosis, says Collingwood physician
File photo.

If you’re due for a routine mammogram, it’s best practice to book your appointment about six weeks after getting your COVID-19 booster shot, says a southern Georgian Bay physician.

“Some people do get swollen lymph nodes in their axilla – in their arm pit – after getting their booster dose. It’s slightly more common, I believe, with Moderna than with Pfizer, but it can happen with either,” said Dr. Harry O’Halloran, co-lead with the South Georgian Bay Ontario Health Team and Collingwood doctor.

“Early on, with boosters, they were finding that some mammograms done shortly after that showed these lymph nodes so it ended up that people would need more investigation to make sure it wasn’t related to cancer,” he added.

O’Halloran said it is being recommended that patients should wait six weeks after getting a COVID-19 booster shot before getting a routine mammogram, if it’s for screening. If it’s for a diagnosis purpose, the six-week waiting period doesn’t apply.

As of now, O’Halloran says he isn’t aware of any other routine medical tests that should be put off due to timing with the COVID-19 booster shot.

“Get your booster. Check with your family doctor or nurse practitioner; many are giving boosters in their offices. There’s more availability than you think with the health unit clinics,” he said. “If you’re having trouble signing up, check back because they’re always adding more capacity.”

For more information from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit on COVID-19 third doses/boosters, click here.