Kate gets going while visiting a Durham charity

Kate gets going while visiting a Durham charity

The New York Times

Can you have alcohol after the COVID vaccine?

After a long year and much anticipation, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can be cause for celebration, which for some may mean pouring a drink and toasting their new immunity. But can alcohol affect your immune response? The short answer is that it depends on how much you drink. Sign up for The Morning Newsletter from the New York Times. There is no evidence that a drink or two can affect the effectiveness of the current COVID vaccines. Some studies have even found that in the long run, small or moderate amounts of alcohol can actually support the immune system by reducing inflammation. On the other hand, heavy drinking, especially in the long run, can suppress the immune system and potentially affect your vaccination response, experts say. Since it can take weeks after a COVID shot for the body to generate protective antibodies against the novel coronavirus, anything that disrupts the immune response is cause for concern. “If you are really a moderate drinker, there is no risk of having a drink at the time of your vaccine,” said Ilhem Messaoudi, director of the Center for Virus Research at the University of California at Irvine, who has conducted research on the effects of alcohol on the immune response. “But be very aware of what moderate drinking really means. Drinking large amounts of alcohol is dangerous because the effects on all biological systems, including the immune system, are quite severe and appear fairly quickly after you leave this temperate zone. “Moderate drinking is generally defined as no more than two drinks per day for men and a maximum of one drink per day for women, while heavy drinking is defined as four or more drinks per day for men and three or more drinks for women. Remember that a “standard” drink is considered to be 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, or 12 ounces of beer. Some of the first concerns about alcohol and COVID vaccinations came after a Russian health official warned in December that people should abstain from alcohol for two weeks before vaccination, and then abstain for 42 days afterwards. According to a Reuters report, the official claimed that alcohol could affect the body’s ability to develop immunity to the novel coronavirus. Their warning sparked a violent backlash in Russia, which has one of the world’s highest drinking rates. In the United States, some experts say they heard similar concerns about whether it is safe to drink at the time of vaccination. “We have received a lot of questions from our patients about this,” said Dr. Angela Hewlett, an associate professor of infectious diseases who leads the COVID infectious diseases team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “Understandably, people who receive these vaccines want to make sure they are doing the right things to maximize their immune response.” Clinical trials of COVID vaccines currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration did not specifically examine whether alcohol had an effect on vaccines’ effectiveness, Hewlett said. It is possible that there will be more information on this in the future. Most of what is known, however, comes from previous research, including studies looking at how alcohol affects the immune system in humans and whether it interferes with the immune response in animals that have received other vaccines. Studies have shown that heavy alcohol consumption impairs the immune response and increases your susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections. It prevents immune cells from reaching foci of infection and performing their tasks, e.g. B. the destruction of viruses, bacteria and infected cells. makes it easier for pathogens to enter your cells and causes a host of other problems. In contrast, moderate drinking does not seem to have this effect. In one study, scientists exposed 391 people to five different respiratory viruses and found that moderate drinkers are less likely to develop colds, but not if they are smokers. In another study, Messaoudi and colleagues gave rhesus monkeys access to alcoholic beverages for seven months and then looked at how their bodies reacted to a vaccine against the smallpox virus. Much like humans, some rhesus monkeys enjoy alcohol and drink a lot, while others show less interest and limit themselves to small amounts. The researchers found that the animals that chronically drank heavily had a poor response to the vaccine. “They had almost no immune response,” said Messaoudi. However, the animals that consumed moderate amounts of alcohol reacted most strongly to the vaccine, even compared to the tea totalers who consumed no alcohol at all. Studies in rats have found a similar pattern: those who consume large amounts of alcohol have poor immune responses to infections compared to animals given moderate amounts or no alcohol. Other studies have found that people who drink moderately seem to lower markers of inflammation in their blood. Another reason for moderating your alcohol consumption is that heavy drinking – along with the resulting hangover – can potentially increase any side effects of the COVID vaccine, including fever, malaise, or body ache, and make you feel worse, said Hewlett of the medical center from the University of Nebraska. Hewlett chose not to drink after receiving the COVID vaccine. But she said that as long as they drink within reason, people should feel free. “A glass of champagne is unlikely to inhibit an immune response,” she said. “I think having a festive drink in moderation is fine.” This article originally appeared in the New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company

Joseph Hubbard

Joseph Hubbard is a seasoned journalist passionate about uncovering stories and reporting on events that shape our world. With a strong background in journalism, he has dedicated his career to providing accurate, unbiased, and insightful news coverage to the public.

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