The COVID-19 pandemic brought vaccines into focus, but with them many myths and ambiguities. There have been constant debates about which patients should be vaccinated, when, and how many booster doses should be received. But another question is whether it is allowed to consume alcohol after taking vaccines.
There is no specific recommendation for not consuming Alcohol. Many studies in progress work on this topic, and their conclusions and assumptions are shared in the text below. No reliable connection has yet been found between the immune response to vaccines and drinking Alcohol. However, patients should be cautious about drinking Alcohol, and some tips and directions are mentioned below.
In this article, we first introduce ourselves to how vaccines function and their mechanism, their effect on the immune response, and, of course, the topic of giving up drinking Alcohol for a certain period after receiving the vaccine.
How vaccines work
To talk about the consequences and conditions of receiving, we must first familiarize ourselves with the mechanism of action of vaccines. Vaccines are a triumph of modern times, and thanks to them, many diseases have been eradicated, and many lives have been saved. There are two general divisions of vaccine types: attenuated and live.
Attenuated vaccines are weakened forms of live viruses. They help the body recognize that virus and the infection it creates. Next, the immune response becomes activated. Live vaccines, in turn, initiate a fully robust cascade of cellular response and antibody reactions.
Vaccines work by stimulating the body to develop immunity to a particular pathogen and to remember it for the next time it encounters the same pathogen. Due to the immune response, a cytokine storm or inflammatory process is activated as a defense mechanism to protect against the pathogen.
How does the body respond to vaccines?
You are probably already familiar with the effects that occur after receiving a dose of the vaccine. Soreness at the injection area, myalgia, fatigue, or fever may occur. And that explains the mild inflammation that is pre-induced by the immune response. Side effects may be different in different patients, and this is due to genetics, gender, age, weight, or other comorbidities.
Also, ethanol can enhance these side effects.
How does Alcohol affect the immune system?
Continuous consumption of Alcohol, especially if it is in larger quantities, can significantly affect immunity. It reduces the organism’s ability to defend itself against infection. In this way, the body is more susceptible to infections, including pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (wet lung), and sepsis. On the other hand, moderate consumption may not seriously influence the immune system.
Vaccines and Alcohol
First of all, there are not enough studies on the effects of Alcohol on vaccines. Most often, the conclusions are drawn indirectly according to the data on the impact of Alcohol on the immune system. Moderate or rare consumption should not affect the effect of the vaccine.
Definitely, by reducing the ability of immunity, аlcholol can increase side effects such as fever or temperature. Young people and chronic alcohol addicts are more susceptible to this phenomenon due to insufficient breakdown or dysfunction of enzyme processes. Some mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 have also been shown to increase the risk of myocarditis in alcoholics.
An older study claims that even moderate use of Alcohol can improve the effect of the vaccine. However, the study was done on rodents, which is relatively untrue to consider humans.
In conclusion, Alcohol does not significantly affect the vaccine, but this applies to moderate consumption in patients without comorbidities. Depending on genetics, age, weight, or other diseases, Alcohol can increase side effects. That is why it is recommended not to drink two days before and two weeks after the vaccine. The same applies to booster doses.
Alcohol and Drugs Interactions
Some medicines can potentiate the effect of Alcohol, and thus, the side effects that Alcohol can cause аfter vaccination. Do not drink alcohol if you take anti-anxiety medications, sleeping pills, antidepressants, antibiotics… Stay away from painkillers. Some researchers and organizations believe painkillers should also be avoided during vaccination so as not to attenuate the inflammation that stimulates the immune response.
Timing is crucial
As we mentioned, it is recommended not to consume Alcohol 2 days before vaccination and two weeks after. It is especially recommended to avoid excessive drinking. It can worsen side effects.
If you still decide to drink Alcohol during your vaccination process, do it in moderation. Do not overdo it; stop at 1-2 drinks daily. Please follow your body and the signals it gives you. If you feel down or notice some changes, pay attention to hydration. Drink water and soft drinks at least 2.5 liters daily, and strictly avoid Alcohol. Dehydration is proven to cause worse fever, elevated inflammation, and temperature. So, take your water bottle with you for two weeks after immunization.
We are all unique organisms
Each patient processes Alcohol differently. For someone, even one drink may be too much and cause all the side effects that will not appear in another individual. Genetics, cardiovascular diseases, and age are significant factors.
Be cautious if you have experienced any consequences from alcohol consumption or had side effects from taking a specific vaccine.
How can Alcohol affect the effect of the vaccine? The only thing known is that it can increase side effects such as fever, temperature, and fatigue. But it still depends on several aspects, including genetics, alcohol tolerance, drug interactions, cardiovascular diseases, and dehydration.
Moderate consumption should not leave consequences, but chronic alcohol consumption has a higher risk of myocarditis and more intense fever. As a final result, a reduced effect of the vaccine may occur.
It is essential to keep in mind that each person reacts differently to the vaccine and alcohol consumption together. To avoid complications, it is recommended not to drink alcoholic beverages two days before and two weeks after vaccination. Eliminate painkillers and stay hydrated.
I am a passionate beer connoisseur with a deep appreciation for the art and science of brewing. With years of experience tasting and evaluating various beers, I love to share my opinions and insights with others and I am always eager to engage in lively discussions about my favorite beverage.