Don't Drink More Than This After Your Vaccine, Experts Warn
A certain amount of alcohol could potentially affect vaccine efficacy.
Getting the COVID vaccine is a reason to celebrate: Vaccinations have been hailed by many as light at the end of the tunnel after suffering through the past year's pandemic. But while you may be excited, your celebratory drinks might have to wait. In fact, some experts warn that you shouldn't drink more than a particular amount after your vaccine, as it could affect the shot's efficacy. Read on to find out how much is too much, and for more vaccine tips, You Need This in Your Diet After Your COVID Vaccine, Doctor Warns.
Experts say drinking heavily after your vaccine may affect its efficacy.
Some experts warn that heavy drinking right after the vaccine could affect its efficacy. Christoper Thompson, PhD, an associate professor at Loyola University Maryland's Department of Biology, told Healthline that "most of the available data on how alcohol impacts the immune system and vaccine responses suggest that, in general, people should avoid binge drinking and heavy drinking around the time of the vaccination."
While none of the clinical trials for U.S.-authorized coronavirus vaccines looked at whether or not alcohol impacts the vaccines' efficacy, Thompson said that heavy alcohol consumption causes the immune system to work less efficiently—which can mess with how effective the vaccine is. "We see functional dysregulation of many immune cells while also seeing an increase in inflammation and pro-inflammatory molecules throughout the whole body," he explained. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), heavy drinking is defined as more than four drinks in one day for men and more than three drinks in one day for women. And for more on vaccine efficacy, This Common Medication Can Make Your Vaccine Less Effective, Study Says.
However, experts say moderate drinking shouldn't impact the vaccine's efficacy.
Some drinking after the vaccine is probably fine. lhem Messaoudi, PhD, director of the Center for Virus Research at the University of California, Irvine, who has conducted research on the effects of alcohol on the immune response, told The New York Times that for moderate drinkers, "there's no risk of having a drink around the time of your vaccine." According to the NIAAA, moderate drinking is considered to be two drinks or less a day for men and one drink or less a day for women.
But Messaoudi does warn that moderate drinking can quickly get out of hand. "Be very cognizant of what moderate drinking really means. It's dangerous to drink large amounts of alcohol because the effects on all biological systems, including the immune system, are pretty severe and they occur pretty quickly after you get out of that moderate zone," he added. And for more vaccine errors to avoid, There's a 50 Percent Chance You'll Make This Mistake When Getting Vaccinated.
Even moderate drinking can make your vaccine side effects worse.
There could be another reason you don't want to even drink moderately after your vaccine, however. According to some experts, any amount of alcohol may be likely to make your vaccine side effects feel worse. "Vaccine side effects include muscle aches and pains and feeling under the weather. Compounding that with the side effects of alcohol runs the risk of making you feel worse," Tania Elliott, MD, a clinical instructor of medicine at NYU Langone Health, told Health. In fact, many symptoms of a hangover mirror potential COVID vaccine side effects, like fatigue, headache, muscles aches, and nausea, according to the NIAAA. You could be heightening these negative side effects by drinking right after your vaccination. And for more useful information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
You should be focusing on hydration immediately after your vaccine.
Instead, you should be focused on hydration after the vaccine. Experts warn that not being hydrated well enough after your vaccine can also make your side effects worse. "Inadequate hydration or, even worse, dehydration, can exacerbate the side effects of the vaccine," Robert Quigley, MD, the SVP and regional medical director for International SOS Assistance and MedAire, told Bustle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you "drink plenty of fluids" if you're experiencing discomfort from your vaccine side effects—especially if you have a fever. And for more CDC guidance, The CDC Says Don't Do This Until 4 Weeks After Getting Vaccinated.