One common side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine is swelling in the lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy) under the arm in which the shot was given. While this swelling is normal and a sign that your body is building protection against COVID-19, it could be cause for a false reading on a mammogram.

Island Hospital providers recommend women schedule their mammogram before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, if possible, to avoid swelling in the lymph nodes prior to an imaging exam. For those who have recently been vaccinated, the recommendation is to wait four to six weeks after your final dose before getting a screening mammogram to allow for the swelling to subside. However, if you have concerns or are scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram there is no reason to delay your appointment. In this case, proceed with your scheduled mammogram and be sure to communicate with your provider and radiologist when you received your last vaccine. This information will be helpful in understanding the mammogram images.

Helpful tips:

  • If you have a history of mammographic concerns on one side, try to get your vaccination on the other side.
  • Remember which side your vaccination was on and if you experienced tenderness under your armpit after the vaccination, let your mammography technologist know.

To schedule your next mammogram appointment, call (360) 299-4288. For your convenience, weekend and evening appointments are available.

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Published on April 28, 2021