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Vaccination has allowed governments around the world to push back on Covid-19. Three candidates made by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca started turning the tables in early 2021. But there is some time to go until the pandemic ends, and people have questions about their vaccine appointments.
Can I drink a glass of wine after the Covid vaccine?
The Covid vaccine is a lifesaving scientific development which has significantly cut severe cases of the disease.
The UK’s programme has now covered nearly every vulnerable adult and will soon move on to people below 50.
The vaccine is not instantly effective, however, and require a window to reach their full potential.
The body should start cultivating immunity within 12 to 14 days following injection.
During this time, the immune system remains vulnerable to the disease, more so with heavy drinking.
Alcohol can impair immune cells in several vital organs, including the lungs and gut.
Both help eliminate and expel harmful viruses or bacteria.
According to Dr Jennifer Edelman, an expert in addiction medicine from Yale University, alcohol could impede the body’s ability to fight the risk of “serious” infection.
She told Healthline: “Alcohol has diverse adverse effects throughout the body, including on all cells of the immune system, that lead to increased risk of serious infections.
Dr Edelman added alcohol would affect the body’s ability to fight Covid-19 as well.
She added: “With COVID-19, alcohol is likely to interfere with an individual’s ability to clear SARS-CoV-2 and cause people to suffer worse outcomes, including ARDS, which commonly results in death.”
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Current advice urges people to reduce their alcohol consumption during their dose regimen.
Roughly 120 grams of alcohol – equivalent to 12 shots of vodka – will start blunting immune response.
The immune system can tolerate less than this, so a small measure of alcohol is still acceptable.
Alexander Gintsburg, head of the Moscow-based Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, said people should approach vaccination with a “reasonable limitation of consumption”.
Dr Fiona Sim, chair of an independent medical panel with the company Drinkaware, has different advice.
She said people should take the vaccine “regardless of whether you ever drink any alcohol or not.”
But she also asked people not to drink either before or after receiving their jab.
Dr Sim 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.”
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