Should you get a tattoo before having the Covid-19 vaccine?

And how long should you wait to get inked afterwards? We answer all your burning questions.

Woman with tattoo arms over head portrait - stock photo
(Image credit: Ray Kachatorian/Getty Images)

It seems there are so many questions around tattoos and the Covid-19 vaccine - should I wait to get my tattoo if I'm due to have the vaccine in a few days? How long should I wait after the jab to get inked? Is it even safe? Etc, etc.

While these are all valid questions, the trouble is, all of this is new territory for everyone and information on the subject is limited. But what does seem to be clear is that, at this time, there are no apparent contraindications to receiving a Covid-19 vaccine shortly before or after getting a tattoo.

"Based on how the various vaccines work, whether mRNA or adenoviral vector-based, there isn't any reason to think getting a tattoo would influence how well the vaccines work," Michael Chang, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston told "Also, there isn't any reason you can't get the vaccine through the site of a previous tattoo that I am aware of." 

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What may encourage your to delay your new body part is the very real possibility of pain and infection. Both the vaccine and a tattoo can leave your arm aching and any inking can result in a low-grade fever and redness.

But if you do decide to go ahead with a tattoo there are a few things to remember. First, social distancing rules apply, so you need to wear a mask at all times in the tattoo parlour and ensure that there are limited people in the store.

You may also want to consider locating your tattoo elsewhere on the body rather than on your arm. And wait a week or so to allow for any vaccine-related side effects to pass before putting your body through any further needling.

Chang was also quoted as saying: "If you develop any kind of COVID-type symptoms prior to going out for your tattoo, even if you have been vaccinated, I recommend rescheduling and following CDC recommendations on isolation and quarantine." All of which is key advice to follow.

Fiona Embleton is a beauty writer who is now Acting Beauty Editor at Stylist. She is obsessed with Isabel Marant and cats.