You asked, we answered: Does alcohol affect the COVID-19 vaccines?

Close up of woman pouring wine


Does drinking alcohol affect the COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness?

Answered by infectious diseases expert Angela Hewlett, MD, MS

Currently, no formal recommendations say to avoid alcohol before or after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. Studies have shown heavy drinking can weaken the immune system. Long-term alcohol abuse is especially harmful. Still, these studies didn’t involve the new COVID-19 vaccines. So the concern for alcohol interfering with the immune response to COVID-19 vaccination is only theoretical.

However, symptoms from the immune response to the vaccine, like fever, body aches and others, are common. Heavy drinking may increase these side effects, making you feel worse. Bottom line – a celebratory drink is probably OK, but celebrate in moderation. And stay tuned for any new recommendations on this topic.

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