Am I allowed to drink alcohol before or after my Covid vaccine?

Over 35m people in the UK have now had the first coronavirus vaccine dose

Bethany Dawson@bethanymrd
Tuesday 04 May 2021 12:01
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Roughly half of all adults in the UK have received one dose of a Covid-19 jab, with the government planning to have vaccinated every adult by the end of July 2021.

Latest data shows nearly 35m people have had the first dose and over 15.5m have had both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

And as England reopens after many months in lockdown - with outdoor socialising permitted and indoor meetings allowed later this month on 17 May - a very 2021 question on many people’s lips is whether or not you can safely enjoy a pint - or any alcoholic tipple - before or after receiving a Covid-19 jab.

Am I allowed to drink alcohol before or after having my Covid vaccine?

Whilst adults in Russia have been told not to drink alcohol following the receipt of the Sputnik vaccine, no explicit advice or guidance has been given by the UK government or the NHS on whether or not you can drink around having your vaccination. 

The government website states that you should be able to resume your normal activities after being vaccinated, so long as you feel well.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) - the body that approved both the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine and the Pfizer/Moderna vaccine for use - has stated that “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.”

So essentially, there is currently no reason to believe that drinking alcohol hampers the way with the vaccination.

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The independent medical advisory panel for Drinkaware - the alcohol advice charity - has also offered advice on alcohol and the Covid-19 vaccine, urging everybody to get the vaccine when invited to, regardless of whether or not they drink. They do also raise the possible benefits of not drinking alcohol before and after being vaccinated.

The panel’s chair, Dr Fiona Sim says: “First and foremost, we urge you to listen to the advice to stay at home as much as possible, to stop the spread of the virus.

“Then, we encourage you very strongly to get vaccinated if you are offered a Covid-19 jab, regardless of whether you ever drink alcohol.”

While there is no published data about the specific effects of alcohol on the human body’s response to the Covid-19 vaccination, there is some evidence that drinking alcohol, especially regular heavy drinking, could interfere with your body’s ability to build immunity in response to some vaccines.

Dr Sim continues: “We are very keen to stress how important it is for you to get vaccinated. We do know that since the onset of the pandemic last year, between one fifth and one-third of people have been drinking more than they do usually.

“So, as far as alcohol is concerned, we advise that you consider not drinking for two days before, and up to two weeks after you’ve been vaccinated, to try to ensure your immune system is at its best to respond to the vaccine and protect you. But it’s really important to know that, even if you do drink, you’ll still benefit from having the jab, so please don’t turn it down.

“If you are a regular heavy drinker, the risks to you of becoming seriously ill if you do contract Covid-19 are particularly high, so please keep your appointment for vaccination if you are offered one.

The most common side effects of the vaccine include a sore arm, fatigue, a headache, muscle and joint pain, and a fever.

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