Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Alcohol interferes with Covid vaccines? No evidence, says UK regulator

In January, advisers to the alcohol education charity Drinkaware had said there was some evidence that drinking interfered with immunity

There is no evidence that drinking alcohol after a Covid-19 vaccine interferes with how it works, a British regulator has said. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was responding to social media reports that people should abstain from drinking for up to two weeks after a vaccine.

In January, advisers to the alcohol education charity Drinkaware, which is funded by the alcohol industry, said there was some evidence that drinking, especially regular heavy drinking, could interfere with the body’s ability to build immunity in response to some vaccines.

But there is nothing in the patient information leaflets from the NHS or the vaccine manufacturers to suggest such a link.

A spokeswoman for the MHRA told the PA news agency: “There is currently no evidence that drinking alcohol interferes with the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines.

“We would advise anyone concerned about this to talk to their healthcare professional.”

News website Diario AS had reported on 3 May, “Just under 2.5 million Americans are being vaccinated every day on average and before people go out to get their shot they are wondering; Is it safe to drink before getting the jab? Although having a glass of wine or a beer with dinner won’t be the end of the world, health experts recommend holding off.”

Likewise, the website said the best option was not to go out for a drink afterward, or stay in and celebrate with a drink either, at least not right away. Since side effects from any vaccine are common, that drink may only make you feel worse should you have a reaction.

The recommendation from health experts is to abstain for a few days before and after the Covid-19 vaccine, which applies to all vaccinations. Sheena Cruickshank, PhD, an immunologist at the University of Manchester, told UK Metro “You need to have your immune system working tip-top to have a good response to the vaccine, so if you’re drinking the night before, or shortly afterwards, that’s not going to help.”

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