Russian health officials have issued a warning against consumption of alcohol at least for two months after getting COVID vaccine, prior to the mass-scale inoculation campaign in the country. Now, Indian health experts have asserted that the advice not a specific attribute of the vaccination process. Rather, avoiding alcohol is a prime preventive measure for COVID-19.
No drinking for 42 days after Covid Vaccine
Russia is just days away from launching a countrywide campaign with their COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, that is deemed to be more than 90% effective. In a recent interview, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova urged the citizens to adhere to all precautionary protocols after their vaccination.
She said that the Sputnik V vaccine takes around 42 days to act effectively. In that period, inoculated Russians should follow some regulations with extra caution. They should strictly avoid crowded places, wear masks, sanitise frequently and maintain social distancing. In addition, Golikova recommended that people should abstain from alcoholic drinks and also avoid immunosuppressant drugs.
The Deputy PM’s warning was resonated by Anna Popova, head of Russia’s consumer safety agency Rospotrebnadzor. Aside from the 42-day no-drinking order, she added that people should also abstain from alcohol for around two weeks prior to inoculation.
She elaborated that alcohol causes strain on the body. Abstination for a period of time will help in building a strong and healthy immune system.
Russians are not happy
The abstination remarks were not received warmly by a majority of Russians. Many refuted the order as unreasonable, especially with the holiday season being underway. Russia ranks fourth highest in per person consumption of alcohol in the world. In a year, the average Russian consumes 15.1 litres of alcohol.
Health experts fear that the no-drinking warning might trigger people’s apathy towards the vaccine, receiving which is absolutely crucial.
However, Dr Alexander Gintsburg, the developer of the Sputnik V vaccine, himself did not agree completely with the Deputy PM or Popova’s warning. Taking a jibe at Popova’s remark, he tweeted, “One glass of champagne won’t hurt anyone, not even your immune system.”
But, he also clarified that it was critical to avoid alcohol at least three days before and after the first two injections, for all COVID-19 vaccines and not just Sputnik V.
Global Health Experts baffled
The United Kingdom is also gearing up at present to ensue the mass vaccination process soon with the Pfizer vaccine. However, neither the manufacturers nor British health officials have issued any similar warning against alcohol consumption.
Researchers across the world are puzzled at the Russian warning. Health experts are arguing that there is still no concrete evidence linking alcohol and a vaccinated individual’s immune response. But excessive drinking does damage the intestinal lining of immune cells and hamper the body’s immune response.
Dr Praveen Gupta, Neurology Director at Fortis Hospital, Gurugram told that there was no rational reasoning behind maintaining precautions for nearly two months after vaccination. He believes that the alcohol warning was more in accordance with general immunity instead of being specific with the Russian vaccine. He also stressed on the possibility that the bizarre warning might dissuade people from taking the vaccine.