AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The medical community has been debating whether alcohol can affect your response to the COVID-19 vaccine.
This debate started about a month ago after researchers in the UK and Russia said that drinking alcohol shortly before or after getting vaccinated can impact its effectiveness.
However, there is limited data on this topic.
Rodney Young, M.D. Regional Chair and Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine says that alcohol, specially when taken heavily, can have an immunosuppressant effect. Meaning, your immune system will be less likely to respond to an outside threat.
“When you get your vaccination, we’re essentially teaching the immune system how to recognize a portion of the surface of the coronavirus, so that it would be ready to respond to it in the future,” said Young. “If you have a significant amount of alcohol in your system, the supposition is that you should be less capable to induce a healthy response.”
It is important to mention that vaccine studies in the United States haven’t restricted alcohol consumption.
“So, people that just had their daily amount of alcohol were included in those studies, and they had excellent results with 95 percent efficacy,” said William Biggs, managing partner at Amarillo Medical Specialists.
Both doctors agree that alcohol consumption in combination with the vaccine will be more of a problem for heavy drinkers but still recommend those planning to get vaccinated to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum, in order to help your immune system have the best response it can to the vaccine.
“Don’t drink heavily after getting the vaccine, you know, limit it to either two drinks or less,” said Biggs.
“Not drinking at all around the time of vaccines will be great that gives you your best odds. If you drink a lot, try to drink a little or non during that period of time the best you can,” said Young.