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Can You Drink Alcohol Before or After Getting the COVID Vaccine?

Cheers to immunity.
by Pia Regalado
May 26, 2021
Photo/s: Shutterstock

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 quarantine after a year under quarantine calls for a celebration. One common question is: Is it okay to celebrate with an alcoholic drink? Can it affect how your body responds to vaccine?

Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, co-convenor of the Healthcare Professional Alliance Against COVID-19, told TeleRadyo that consuming alcohol prior to inoculation could have an adverse effect.

"Maraming adult takot sa karayom, ayaw magpabakuna dahil sa takot, hindi dahil nagdududa sa bakuna. Kung dinagdagan natin na medyo nakainom tayo the night before o nagpuyat tayo o nagpagod baka pagkatapos ng bakuna himatayin ka. Akala natin bakuna, 'yun pala dahil hindi maganda tulog mo.”

Dr. Angela Hewlett, head of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's COVID infectious diseases team, told The New York Times that clinical studies on COVID-19 vaccines that are approved for use made no mention of the impact of wines and spirits.

While there is no official recommendation against consuming alcohol before or after getting the jab, the Department of Health recommends maintaning a balanced and healthy diet with exercise and avoiding smoking and alcohol after vaccination.

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What health experts say

However, the chairman of India's COVID-19 task force, Dr. MK Sudarshan, said alcohol consumption could hinder immune response to the vaccine and suggested those who are fully vaccinated to refrain from drinking right after.

"As per current data, the antibodies are developed 14 days after the second vaccine dose. Hence, it is better to stay away from drinking for 45 days," Sudarshan told the Bangalore Mirror.

"Alcohol is not good. It decreases immunity response," Dr. Tony Leachon, a former adviser to the National Task Force COVID-19, told reportr.


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In a Reuters report, Russian health official Anna Popova advised people to stop drinking alcohol at least two weeks before getting the first Sputnik V jab and abstain from drinking for 42 days after, as alcohol could reduce the body's ability to build up immunity.

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Tweeting from the Sputnik V account, vaccine developer Alexander Gintsburg advised the public to refrain from alcohol for three days after each injection of any vaccine brand. He also said that while it would be prudent to steer clear of alcohol after immunization, there is no need to give it up completely.

Doctors also warned that post-vaccination, those who got the jab might feel side effects, including body aches, which could intensify with alcohol.

“Having a glass of champagne probably won’t inhibit any immune response... I think having a celebratory beverage in moderation is fine," said Hewlett.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defined drinking in moderation as maximum two standard drinks in a day for men and one drink in a day for women. The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defined a "standard" drink as 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 oz of wine, or 1.5 oz of distilled spirits, such as gin, rum, tequila, vodka or whiskey.

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