Can you drink alcohol after getting the coronavirus vaccine?

A couple toasts champagne glasses in front of a Christmas tree. Whether drinking alcohol after receiving the coronavirus vaccine is a real question
Photo via Marco Verch Professional Photographer/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

News recently spread that Russian health officials are advising those receiving the Sputnik vaccine to avoid alcohol for two months. As coronavirus vaccines begin rolling out around the world, citizens of other countries have a pressing question on their minds: Can you drink alcohol after receiving the coronavirus vaccine?

Alcohol consumption may dampen the body’s ability to respond to the vaccine, according to experts. Depending on the type and the amount of alcohol consumed, it could severely impact the vaccine’s efficacy. While some experts are advising limiting consumption rather than an outright cessation, others believe a dry period of up to two months is advisable. 

Evidence shows that long-term alcohol use can dampen your immune system. During the pandemic, most countries have reported an uptick in alcohol purchases, as isolated adults drown their boredom in booze, and Americans are no exception.

A 2012 study out of Sweden found that “low to moderate” alcohol consumption suppressed participants’ response to a vaccine against bacterial pneumonia. A “low to moderate” amount of alcohol was classified as “an average intake of less than 30 grams a day, about the same as three vodkas,” according to New Scientist.

Most studies appear to agree that the more alcohol you consume, the weaker your immune response will be. Those consuming smaller amounts of alcohol—particularly in the days leading up to and immediately after getting the vaccine—will likely see less effect. 

Chronic drinkers are a different story, as they likely already suffer from a weakened immune system. A far stricter dry period may be necessary to ensure the vaccine can effectively offer immunity.

Regardless of your history with alcohol, it seems that a short period of sobriety is advisable. Taking at least three days off from drinking before you receive the first dose of vaccine and at least the same amount of time on the other end will help the vaccine to more effectively inoculate you against COVID-19.

Neither Pfizer nor Moderna currently have any recommendations regarding alcohol consumption and their vaccines.

Read more on the coronavirus vaccine:

Sources: BBC, New Scientist, Express, The Sun, Business Insider

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