How soon can you drink alcohol after getting your Covid-19 vaccine?
We asked the experts
Perhaps you’ve heard the warning going around: you shouldn’t drink after you’ve been vaccinated. If you’ve already received your shot and decided to toast the occasion, or are planning on doing so as soon as you've been jabbed, you might be wondering if you’ve made the right call.
We asked various experts how soon you can drink alcohol after getting the Covid-19 vaccine:
PROF SHABIR MADHI
Professor of vaccinology, director of the Vaccines & Infectious Diseases Analytics Research Unit at Wits University and co-director of African Leadership in Vaccinology Expertise
There is no restriction necessary after being vaccinated, though it is always good to do things in moderation.
PROFESSORS HANNELIE MEYER AND ROSE BURNETT
Meyer is the head of the SA Vaccination and Immunisation Centre (Savic) at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. Burnett is a scientific adviser at Savic
It is normal practice to advise patients against taking alcohol with any medication, as alcohol can react with certain medicines and worsen side-effects such as drowsiness. Also, excessive alcohol use over prolonged periods has a negative impact on immunity.
In addition, one may recommend avoiding excessive alcohol use for the first 2-3 days, following 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 on the reporting and monitoring of adverse events following immunisation.
PROF VERONICA UECKERMANN
Head of the infectious diseases department at the University of Pretoria
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 recognise 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.