Drugs Q & A

Can You Drink After COVID Vaccine?

Throughout the 10,000 or so years that humans have been drinking fermented beverages, they’ve also been arguing about their merits and demerits. The debate still simmers today, with a lively back-and-forth over whether alcohol is good for you or bad for you.

It’s safe to say that alcohol is both a tonic and a poison. The difference lies mostly in the dose. Moderate drinking seems to be good for the heart and circulatory system and probably protects against type 2 diabetes and gallstones. Heavy drinking is a major cause of preventable death in most countries. In the U.S., alcohol is implicated in about half of fatal traffic accidents. Heavy drinking can damage the liver and heart, harm an unborn child, increase the chances of developing breast and some other cancers, contribute to depression and violence, and interfere with relationships.

Even in small amounts, alcohol may intensify medication side effects such as sleepiness, drowsiness, and light-headedness, which may interfere with your concentration and ability to operate machinery or drive a vehicle, and lead to serious or even fatal accidents.

Because alcohol can adversely interact with hundreds of commonly used medications, it’s important to observe warning labels and ask your doctor or pharmacist if it’s safe to use alcohol with any medications and herbal remedies that you take.

What is COVID-19 Vaccine?

A COVID‑19 vaccine is a vaccine intended to provide acquired immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19).

Vaccines save millions of lives each year. The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a crucial step in helping us get back to doing more of the things we enjoy with the people we love.

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness.

Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection. But with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.

It typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes. Therefore, it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then gets sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.

How long does protection from COVID-19 vaccines last?

Research is still ongoing to determine how long COVID-19 vaccines provide protection. According to WHO, most people have strong protection against serious illness and death for at least six months. This immunity may reduce faster for some people, including older age groups and those with underlying medical conditions.

Can I drink after COVID vaccine?

No, experts recommend that you avoid alcohol for the first 2-3 days after COVID-19 vaccination because this may cause a “hangover” with symptoms such as headache, fatigue, chills, and nausea being very similar to the common side effects of the Covid-19 vaccines.

Hence it will make it difficult to differentiate and determine whether these effects were caused by the vaccine or the alcohol, which will negatively impact the reporting and monitoring of adverse events following immunization.

Excessive alcohol use does suppress the immune system. You need your immune system to respond to the vaccine (that’s the point of the vaccine — to help your immune system recognize the viral proteins and establish an immune response that will be activated).

How much alcohol causes immune suppression may be different for different people, but excessive consumption after getting the vaccination is not advised. A celebratory drink that you did the right thing is not an issue though.

Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause side effects, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building immunity. Talk to a doctor about taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin (only for people age 18 or older), or antihistamines for any pain and discomfort experienced after getting vaccinated.

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