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#BreezyExplainer: Can alcohol affect your response to the COVID vaccine?

People are getting their COVID-19 vaccine across the world. Now questions arise on if and how alcohol consumption will affect the immune response to the vaccine. Experts suggest alcohol abstinence for a short period before and after getting the COVID-19 vaccination.

Alcohol has harmful interactions with medication. It can lead to problems like vomiting, drowsiness, fainting, blood pressure fluctuation, etc. This is how alcohol consumption can affect your COVID-19 vaccination:

What experts say about alcohol consumption and COVID vaccine shots

Healthcare experts in the US say that there is no danger for people who consume alcohol in moderation. “There is no evidence or CDC guidance to suggest that this needs to be done,” said Dr. Sandro Ciniti, Infectious Disease specialist from Michigan Medicine.

Authorities in Russia advised citizens to avoid alcohol for two months after the Sputnik V vaccine. However, it is too extreme, tweeted Dr. Alexander Gintsburg, the developer of Sputnik V. He suggested refraining from alcohol for three days after each dose of any vaccination.

Why should you avoid alcohol consumption around the time of vaccination?

vaccine and alcohol

The answer is simple. Excessive use of alcohol around vaccination time is detrimental. Research on how alcohol impacts our immune system and vaccine response shows that it can slow response or reduce the immune system’s functions. As a result, alcohol leads to functional dysregulation and inflammation of cells. it can also increase inflammation of the gut and alter microflora that maintains the immune system.

What does the research say?

COVID vaccine

Heavy alcohol consumption is a general health concern and, individuals should refrain from alcohol consumption before and after procedures and vaccination.

“Ideally, this would be avoided for at least a week before the first dose and one month after the second dose,” said Dr. Christopher Thomson, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Loyola University.

“Alcohol consumption was not assessed as a variable in the large Phase 3 clinical trial,” said Dr. Hana El Sahly, one of the national co-chairs of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial

“We do not expect that occasional or moderate amount of alcohol ingestion to affect the response to the vaccine. And we are not requesting from subjects or the general public to abstain from alcohol around vaccination time,” she added.

A glass of beer or wine should not impair your immune response but, it is better to avoid alcohol consumption for a few days before and after your COVID-19 vaccination. It will ensure that the vaccine response and your immune system function properly.