Family Healthcast: can alcohol consumption reduce your immunity to COVID?

Family Healthcast

FAMILY HEALTHCAST– After a long year and a lot of anticipation, getting the COVID-19 vaccine can be cause for celebration, which for some might mean pouring a drink and toasting to their new immunity. But can alcohol interfere with your immune response?

The short answer is that it depends on how much you drink. Heavy alcohol consumption, particularly over the long term, can suppress the immune system and potentially interfere with your vaccine response according to experts. 

Since it can take weeks after a COVID shot for the body to generate protective levels of antibodies against the virus, anything that interferes with the immune response would be cause for concern.

There is no evidence that moderate drinking around or after being vaccinated makes the shots less effective. Some studies have even found that over the longer term, small or moderate amounts of alcohol might actually benefit the immune system by reducing inflammation.

Moderate drinking is generally defined as no more than two drinks a day for men and a maximum of one drink a day for women, whereas heavy drinking is defined as four or more drinks for men and three for women.

Another reason to moderate your alcohol intake is that heavy drinking, along with the hangover that might ensue, can potentially amplify any side effects you might have from the COVID vaccine, including fever, fatigue or body aches. 

However, doctors say “having a glass of champagne probably won’t inhibit any immune response, celebratory alcoholic beverages in moderation are fine.”

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