Here’s why doctors say women may want to schedule mammograms prior to getting COVID-19 vaccine

Health officials are advising women seeking mammograms to schedule them prior to receiving the first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

So what is the concern with getting a mammogram directly after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

Doctor Andrea Porpiglia, Assistant Professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center, met with FOX 29’s Alex Holley and Mike Jerrick to talk about this important health information.


"What we’re seeing is women who have gotten the COVID vaccine, we’re seeing some enlarged lymph nodes. Which is a normal response to the vaccine. Our concern is we don’t want women to get worried or undergo unnecessary biopsies or imaging because of this," Dr. Porpiglia stated.

"We’re recommending for women, if you know you’re getting your COVID vaccine, try to get your screening mammogram before then. Otherwise, if you’ve gotten your vaccine, wait four to six weeks afterward. This way, you avoid the unnecessary workup," Dr. Porpiglia added.

"It seems like some people are having such a hard time getting an appointment for a vaccine, so they probably want to hold on to that. So, as long you communicate that and let them know. But, it should be four to six weeks? If it’s not, is that a huge issue?" FOX 29’s Alex Holley asked.

"Typically no. And, if you’re having a breast concern, if you’re having breast pain, you feel a mass, you should not delay your mammogram because of the vaccine," Dr. Porpiglia answered. 

She added that you should be sure to disclose that you've had the vaccine if you do not feel comfortable delaying your mammogram. 

"Okay, I’m not in medicine. So, you’re going to have to go a little deeper for me. What is this about the lymph nodes?" FOX 29’s Mike Jerrick asked.

"The lymph nodes are – the main purpose is they help, they harbor the T-Cells and B-Cells that help us fight infection. So, when you get the vaccine and you’re mounting an immune response and making these antibodies, the lymph nodes are naturally going to get larger. So, this is a normal response that we would expect to see with the vaccine," Dr. Porpiglia responded.

"So you might think, ‘Oh, I’ve got a lump?’" asked Jerrick.

"Correct," Dr. Porpiglia said and added, "You may feel it, in both of the studies for the vaccines they saw it in patients. And, it will go away. However, if the lymph node does persist, if you feel the mass under your arm, then you should get it looked at."

"Is there a difference between the first dose and the second dose, for you?" Jerrick asked.

"No, so it was seen after both. You can see it after the first dose and second dose. We see more patients after the second dose, however," Dr. Porpiglia commented.

For more information on coronavirus vaccines in your state, visit our coronavirus vaccine page. 



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