There are lots of questions about what you should and shouldn’t do before and after getting vaccinated for COVID-19—and some of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines might be surprising.
For example, the agency recommends avoiding OTC pain meds, like ibuprofen and Tylenol, in anticipation of vaccine side effects prior to the shot, but says it’s fine to take them within reason after you receive your dose, especially if you experience uncomfortable symptoms like a fever, headache, or muscle pain.
Why? It has to do with those all-important antibodies and how certain substances can mess with the development of a strong immune response. Understandably, plenty of people have wondered whether or not it’s safe to drink alcohol after vaccination, as some research shows that booze can impact the immune system when consumed excessively (think: a night of binging).
The CDC does offer some guidance for people who have been newly vaccinated, but it focuses more on the possible side effects, information about ingredients, and what we know about COVID-19 immunity—no mention of booze, though.
So, what’s the deal? Can you reach for that glass of wine to celebrate your step toward immunity—or is it better to wait? We asked infectious disease doctors to set the record straight.
Can you drink alcohol after you get the COVID-19 vaccine?
There’s no official government recommendation on this, but the experts we talked to say it’s not really something to worry about, within reason. Research on both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines didn’t require trial participants to avoid alcohol, and the findings didn’t mention people having issues after drinking.
'There is no evidence that alcohol reduces the formation of antibodies,' says Richard Watkins, M.D., an infectious disease physician and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University.
However, he does recommend watching your alcohol intake in the days after getting vaccinated for a different reason. Remember: Some people may experience flu-like side effects like a fever, chills, fatigue, and a headache and 'being intoxicated or hungover will make things less pleasant,' he says. If you’re generally feeling unwell, loading up on water will definitely be your best bet.
So, if you feel pretty good and want to celebrate your vaccine with a drink (preferably at home!), just keep it within recommended daily guidelines: two drinks for men and one for women. Cheers to being fully vaccinated!
This article is accurate as of press time. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus develops, some of the information may have changed since it was last updated. While we aim to keep all of our stories up to date, please visit online resources provided by the WHO, and GOV.UK to stay informed on the latest news. Always talk to your doctor for professional medical advice.
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