No alcohol 24hrs before and after taking COVID-19 vaccines – Health Minister

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As Guyana’s vaccination campaign extends to citizens 18 years and older, concerns relating to the use of alcohol have emerged, but Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, said that you should abstain from alcohol for 24 hours before taking the vaccine and for another 24 hours after receiving the jab.

Concerns about the time period of when individuals should abstain from alcohol became more pronounced after an article published by Reuters suggested that persons should abstain for at least 45 days after taking the Russian made Sputnik V vaccine as it could affect the body’s ability to build immunity to ward off the virus.

Subsequently, however, Sputnik V’s developer, Alexander Gintsburg tweeted: “One glass of champagne won’t hurt anyone, not even your immune system.”

Ginstburg explained that to be on the safer side, it would be reasonable to reduce one’s alcohol intake while the body builds up an immunity to the virus, but there was no need to give it up completely.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Dr Anthony on Tuesday during his daily COVID-19 briefing.

Dr Anthony stated, “There is no scientific rationale why people should abstain for that prolonged period.”

However, he was keen to note that it is advisable that persons put a pin on imbibing at least days before they take the vaccine and immediately after.  This, Dr Anthony explained, is to ensure that when monitoring the side effects of the vaccines, there are no outside inhibitors to affect that process.

“So, we haven’t seen in any of the scientific literature that the vaccine interacts in any adverse way with alcohol.

“Out of an abundance of precaution, I would urge that people who are coming for the vaccine, at least over the 24 hours before 24 hours after, [to] remain sober so that we can monitor and make sure that there’s no adverse reaction.”

Further, the Health Minister also cautioned that no medication should be taken before the vaccine is administered.

In the United States (US), research conducted on the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson &Johnson vaccines did not specifically ask the participants in the trial to avoid alcohol, according to Health, an American magazine.

“However, while there’s no evidence that drinking alcohol affects the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine or causes any unwanted health effects, the doctors we spoke to advise against drinking alcohol immediately after receiving the shot,” the magazine wrote, citing experts that stated that consuming alcohol might exacerbate the immediate vaccination side-effects.

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