Does alcohol reduce the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccine?

Monday May 03 2021
health04pix
By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

I regularly take alcohol and although I would like to take the Covid-19 vaccine, I am hesitant since I have been told I cannot take alcohol for two weeks after vaccination.  Is this true? Ryan

Dear Ryan,

The aim of vaccination against Covid-19 is to help the body form protection against the virus so that if one is exposed to the virus, they will already have protection (immune mechanisms) that will make them resist being infected or even if they get infected, the infection will be mild and not affect them.

It is true that chronic, heavy drinking may suppress the immune mechanisms and, therefore, heavy drinking should be avoided before or after vaccination. However, one or two drinks if one cannot avoid drinking may not affect the way the vaccine works.

That said, the vaccine itself may lead to muscle aches, a fever, and joint pain, among others, which symptoms can also occur when you drink heavily, hence making it worse after vaccination.

Please go for vaccination since Covid-19 is real. When you get it and do not have protection, even the alcohol you have been drinking will not save you. When you immunise and not get Covid-19, you will live longer to drink alcohol. Be careful not to turn into an alcoholic.

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