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Will drinking alcohol affect how well the Covid-19 vaccine works?

28 July 2021 - 07:00 By cebelihle bhengu
There is no scientific evidence that alcohol consumption interferes with the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine, but experts advise staying clear of booze during the vaccination period.
There is no scientific evidence that alcohol consumption interferes with the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine, but experts advise staying clear of booze during the vaccination period.
Image: 123rf/Jakub Godja

The lifting of the ban on alcohol sales under level 3 lockdown has raised concerns about whether liquor consumption interferes with the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Johannesburg-based general practitioner Dr Marlin McKay told TimesLIVE doctors always advise patients against taking medication with alcohol but said there is no scientific evidence that it interrupts the vaccine. 

“No doctor will ever advise that it's OK to take medicine while under the influence,” he said.

Dr Hillary Mukudu warned people to steer away from consuming alcohol during the vaccination period.

“It's best to avoid alcohol during the vaccine period and even after a day or so, not because it affects the vaccine but because side effects need to be monitored and reported,” he told TimesLIVE. 

Mukudu added the effects of a hangover like chills and headaches could mimic the side-effects of the vaccine.

Russian microbiologist and developer of the Sputnik V vaccine, which isn't being administered in SA, Alexander Gintsburg, clarified similar concerns last December.

He dismissed suggestions of a 42-day alcohol abstinence for people receiving the vaccine.

“We’re not talking about a complete ban on alcohol, moderate consumption is allowed. We advise refraining from alcohol for three days after each injection, which applies to all vaccines,” he tweeted


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