Just days before the mass inoculation of Russian Covid-19 vaccine ‘Sputnik V’ is stated to begin, Russian health officials have warned their citizens against the use of alcohol for at least two months after taking the vaccine shot.
According to the reports, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova recently at an interview urged all Russians to be extra cautious during the 42 days for the Sputnik V vaccine to be effective.
“Russians will have to refrain from visiting crowded places, wear face masks, use sanitizers, minimise contacts and refrain from drinking alcohol or taking immunosuppressant drugs,” Golikova said in an interview.
Similarly, echoing similar warning, Anna Popova — the head of Russia’s consumer safety watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor told to the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station that people should stop drinking for 42 days after receiving the first of the two injections. She also asked them to abstain from alcohol for at least two weeks before getting their vaccine shot.
Meanwhile, the warning has not gone down well with the Russians, who contend the request of staying away from alcohol is unreasonable. Some believe that such warning would dissuade people from getting the vaccine.
According to the World Health Organisation, Russia is the fourth-largest consumer of alcohol per person in the world. An average Russian consumes about 15.1 litres of alcohol every year, as per a report in Livemint.
Vaccine developer down plays warning, says avoid alcohol for three days
Amidst the warning from Russian health authorities, Sputnik V vaccine’s developer, Alexander Gintsburg played down the warning, saying, “One glass of champagne won’t hurt anyone, not even your immune system”.
However, Gintsburg said it was important to avoid alcohol three days before and after the two injections. He added that the advice would apply for all Covid-19 vaccines and not just the Russian Sputnik V.
The health experts in the United Kingdom, the only country where a mass vaccination program is underway, suggests that nothing has been proven on the effect of alcohol on vaccine so far. The spokesperson for pharmaceutical company Pfizer, the developer of the vaccine currently being inoculated in the UK, confirmed that they have not received any warning about alcohol consumption affecting the efficacy of the injection.
Most health experts around the world also believe that there is little evidence to show that alcohol consumption could interfere with a person’s immune response after getting vaccinated against Covid-19.