Since the vaccination drive began in India on 16 January 2021, 23.88 crore vaccine doses have been administered up to June 8, according to the govt sources. These include the first and second doses of the currently-approved vaccines, namely Covishield (Oxford AstraZeneca) vaccine and Covaxin (Bharat Biotech)

The Russian Sputnik V vaccine was approved in April 2021(Dr Reddy’s Laboratories) and was started in May 2021.

Apart from the possible side effects, one question that is on the minds of many is: Is it safe to consume alcohol after taking the vaccine?

To answer this question, let’s put certain inputs in perspective, as have been shared by medical experts amid the hearsay and discussions.

According to some, alcohol can interfere with the development of a strong immune response and probably have an adverse effect on the production of antibodies.

A few others claim that drinking alcohol within and before 45 days each of getting vaccinated will reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine and the desired results may not be achieved.

Some health experts say that alcohol intake should be avoided after getting the first jab of the Covid-19 vaccine for some days and abstinence should also be maintained after the second jab for some days. Drinking alcohol, especially heavy drinking, may reduce your body’s ability to build immunity in response to a virus, they add.

“First of all, consumption of alcohol is not advisable at all in any condition. But, drinking alcohol can reduce your body’s ability to build immunity in response to a virus,” Satish Kaul, HOD and Director, Internal Medicine, Narayana Hospital, Gurugram was quoted as saying by IANS.

“The consumption of alcohol, sleepless nights or any other unhealthy activities like smoking etc. should be avoided in order to get maximum benefit of any vaccine,” Kaul informed.

According to healthline.com, a Russian health official last month advised citizens being vaccinated with the country’s Sputnik V vaccine that they should abstain from alcohol for two months.

However, the developer of the vaccine, Alexander Gintsburg, later commented that this advice is too extreme.

In a tweet from the Sputnik V account, Gintsburg advised refraining from alcohol for three days after each injection, guidance that he says applies to all vaccines.

“Excessive alcohol intake can reduce the immune responses to the vaccine. Since Russians are known for heavy drinking, their government has advised them to avoid drinking for two weeks prior to the first dose and six weeks after the second dose.

“The Sputnik vaccine is given in two doses 21 days apart. Occasional glass of wine or beer will not interfere with the immune response,” said Sudhir Bhandari, principal and controller at the SMS Medical College in Jaipur.

People who have taken the vaccine must ensure a healthy lifestyle and avoid binge drinking around the time of the vaccination.

“Some neurological symptoms like dizziness have been reported after vaccination, therefore, it is suggested not to take alcohol for 24-48 hours after vaccination so that patient can appreciate any side effect of vaccination,” said Manoj Goel, Director, Pulmonology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram.

“To ensure healthy lifestyle, alcohol consumption should be avoided,” added Harshal R Salve, Associate Professor at Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS.

According to the website of the Serum Institute of India, Pune, which manufactures Covishield (Oxford AstraZeneca) vaccine:

Q. Whether a person after receiving vaccine can consume alcohol/ smoke?

A. There is no recommendation regarding avoidance of alcohol/ smoking following vaccination.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare posted on its website:

Q. Should you avoid alcohol after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. As per experts, there is no evidence of alcohol impairing the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The Statesman unequivocally does not endorse, promote, or encourage alcohol consumption in any manner whatsoever. This write up is only for academic purposes and to share the feedback of medical professionals and the Union Health Ministry.

Alcohol is injurious to health and should be avoided.

The Statesman also very strongly urges that you follow COVID appropriate behaviour at all times, both indoors and outdoors and strictly take the following precautions:

Don’t go out unless absolutely necessary

Avoid crowded places

Maintain social/physical distance (minimum six feet as recommended)

Always try to keep your ambience well-ventilated

Wear a mask, covering your nose and mouth properly

Wash your hands at regular intervals

Follow cough/sneeze etiquette

Click here to learn about COVID-19 appropriate behaviour

(With IANS inputs)