COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Vaccines and Massage Therapy

As more Manitobans receive the COVID-19 vaccine, RMTs should be aware of the common side effects and possible contraindications when treating those who’ve been recently vaccinated.

This resource has been created to assist RMTs in determining if massage therapy treatment is appropriate at the time or not.

Prior to the Appointment/Treatment:

  • Screen clients as usual for COVID-19 symptoms prior to their appointment. Based on your client’s responses you will either proceed with your assessment or delay the appointment to a later date.
  • Clients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms that are new and not related to a known or pre-existing condition will not be eligible to receive treatment.

After receiving the vaccine:

  • Some people will have no side-effects, and some may have mild to moderate flu-like or COVID-like symptoms. 
  • Our recommendation is to delay treatment for at least 24 to 48 hours or until their symptoms have subsided.

Surveys on post-vaccine reactions have shown that side-effects are more common in younger clients and often more severe following the second dose of the vaccine.

Immediately after being vaccinated, clients are monitored by vaccination staff for adverse reactions.

Side-effects after receiving the vaccine are generally mild and may include:

  • tenderness at the site of the injection, 
  • a low fever, 
  • aching joints, 
  • a headache or lethargy

None of these symptoms should last more than a week or lead to a high fever. If this happens, the person should contact their primary health care provider.

With any vaccination, the site of injection is a local contraindication. 

If there is redness and soreness, the entire limb should be considered contraindicated for treatment. 

Signs of a more severe allergic reaction include:

  • itchy rash,
  • swelling of the face,
  • sudden low blood pressure,
  • abdominal pain and vomiting, or
  • sneezing, coughing and difficulty breathing.


Additional Considerations: AstraZeneca Vaccine & Risk of Blood Clots

Health Canada has advised of very rare reports of blood clots associated with low levels of blood platelets among AstraZeneca vaccine recipients.

If your client has received the AstraZeneca vaccine within the last 20 days, include the following questions in your intake:

Have you experienced any of the following signs and/or symptoms:

  • severe headache that does not go away 
  • seizure
  • difficulty moving  
  • new, blurry vision that does not go away
  • difficulty speaking
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • severe abdominal pain 
  • new severe swelling, pain, or colour change of an arm or a leg

Anyone who has these symptoms, whether or not they have received the AstraZeneca vaccine, should seek medical attention immediately.

For additional information on COVID-19 vaccines refer to Manitoba’s COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A.

This resource will be updated as new information becomes available.


References & Related Links: