BRITAIN’S Covid vaccination programme is now well under way with more than 3.2million people having received the first jab.
With more and more people set to receive the jab we look at whether alcohol can have an impact on how effective the vaccine is.
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Those getting the Covid jab may have to avoid drinking alcohol after getting the vaccine (stock photo)
Can I drink alcohol after having the Covid vaccine?
Experts say alcohol will make little difference to your health either before or after having the vaccine.
Some alcohol charities though are saying people should leave it two weeks after having the vaccine before having a drink.
Prof Fiona Sim, of the University of Bedfordshire and chair of the independent medical advisory panel for alcohol charity Drinkaware, said: “We advise that you don’t drink any alcohol for at least two days before, and at least two weeks after, you’ve been vaccinated, to try to ensure your immune system is at its best to respond to the vaccine and protect you.”
The AstraZeneca vaccine contains a “very small” amount of alcohol in its ingredient list, not enough to cause any “noticeable effects”, according to Government guidance.
Russian microbiologist Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Moscow-based Gamaleya National Centre of Epidemiology and Microbiology, said people should refrain from alcohol after each injection.
He told New Scientist: “We strongly recommend refraining from alcohol for three days after each injection.”
Mr Gintsburg’s organisation crafted the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, but his advice applies across the board.
Can I drink alcohol before getting the Covid vaccine?
According to Prof Sim people should avoid alcohol “at least” two days before getting the vaccine.
Mr Gintsburg said: “It is important to understand that excessive alcohol consumption can significantly reduce immunity and therefore reduce the effectiveness of vaccination or even make it meaningless.
“Moreover, this is true not only for Sputnik V, but also for any other vaccine.”
It might be safest to stick to tea or coffee before and after getting the jabCredit: PA:Press Association
How does alcohol affect the immune system?
Research around the effect alcohol has on the human body’s response to the Covid-19 vaccination is still being collected and assessed.
Generally, the effects are more noticeable in those who drink excessively.
there is some evidence to suggest that drinking alcohol, especially heavy drinking, can reduce your body’s ability to build immunity in response to a virus.
“If you are a regular heavy drinker, the risks to you of becoming seriously ill if you do contract Covid-19 are particularly high, so please do keep your appointment for vaccination if you are offered one,” said Dr Sim.
“Chronic heavy drinking reduces immune protection, and specifically for respiratory infections, which includes Covid-19.
“For greatest benefit from the vaccine, it is prudent for you not to drink any alcohol for a few days before, and for at least two weeks after, you’ve been vaccinated.
“And if you do contract Covid-19, please do not drink any alcohol until you have recovered fully, to protect your immune system to allow it to fight the virus, as well as minimising the risk of serious liver disease in the longer term.”