Should you drink alcohol right before and after you get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Updated: Jan. 8, 2021 at 9:33 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - If you’re planning on getting vaccinated for COVID-19, medical experts say you may want to lay off on the alcohol.

Although it’s still a subject of debate, experts in the UK and Russia say that drinking alcohol shortly before or after getting vaccinated can impact its effectiveness.

”This is so, you know, early in this vaccine process, it’s a bit of a theoretical risk, but if we go with what we know about the body, the immune system and the effect of alcohol that in general, it can be an immunosuppressant,” Dr. Jeffrey Elder with LCMC said.

Elder says you want your immune system to have the best response it can to the vaccine.

”I think, one drink, occasionally is not going to cause any problems with this vaccine, but you just want your immune system to be, you know, ready to go when you’re vaccinated,” Elder said.

He anticipates it would be much more of a problem with a heavy drinker, someone that drinks almost every day and to an excess, but Elder added cutting it out completely wouldn’t hurt.

”We just tell people to kind of avoid alcohol around the time of vaccination, just to keep your body as healthy as possible during that time that it reacts appropriately to the vaccination,” Elder said.

A vaccination that’s important to get even if you’ve had COVID already.

”We also think that the vaccine actually gives a much more robust immune response to the virus and so you actually get more protection from the vaccine, rather than just being infected with coronavirus,” Elder said.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 may have less than what was originally thought to be 90 days of immunity, according to a recent study from the CDC.

”We’ve seen it. It can happen and the longer you are out from your initial infection, the more common it would be to happen,” Elder said. “We’ve definitely seen this happen already as we’re now 10 plus months out from our first cases, so I think people still need to remain careful and if you have had coronavirus disease in the past, you should absolutely be vaccinated.”

That CDC study also found that people with a mild case of the virus tended to have a more rapid decline in antibodies, meaning they could be re-infected sooner than people who had a worse case of the virus.

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