Good luck with that! Russians are told to lay off alcohol for nearly two months after Covid jabs
- Consumer safety watchdog head Anna Popova issued the advice on Tuesday
- Sputnik V vaccine recipients should avoid alcohol for two weeks before jab, she said, then for 42 days after the first injection
- The drug’s developer was quick to reassure Russians, saying six days would be enough but excessive consumption should certainly be avoided
- The contradicting advice came as Russia began its vaccination drive at the weekend in Moscow
- Russia remains one of the world’s highest consumers of alcohol despite a drop
The head of Russia‘s consumer safety watchdog made the recommendation for recipients of the Sputnik V vaccine on Tuesday, but a day later the drug’s developer said just six days off the booze was enough.
Anna Popova, head of the Rospotrebnadzor watchdog, said the consumption of alcohol should be halted ‘at least two weeks prior to immunisation,’ during an interview with Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda, reported in The Moscow Times.
She went on to say recipients should then avoid alcohol for 42 days after the first injection, explaining ‘immunity is being formed and one needs to take care.’
Russians have been warned to avoid alcohol for nearly two months before and after receiving the country’s coronavirus vaccine. Despite a dramatic decrease in alcohol consumption, Russia remains one of the world’s highest-consumers [File photo]
‘It’s a strain on the body. If we want to stay healthy and have a strong immune response, don’t drink alcohol,’ she told Russians, who remain among the world’s highest consumers of alcohol despite declines in consumption.
Popova also advised that vaccine recipients abstain from smoking before and after a shot because smoke can affect immune responses and cause lung irritation.
Her instructions came after Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said both alcohol and immunosuppressants should be ditched for 42 days because there is a 21-day gap between the two administrations of the vaccine.
The state-run research centre that developed the Sputnik V vaccine was quick to respond to Popova’s comments, reassuring the public that it was only necessary to abstain from alcohol for six days.
Gamaleya research centre head Alexander Gintsburg said that alcohol abuse should certainly be avoided but countered that ‘a single glass of champagne never hurt anyone.’
On Wednesday he elaborated, saying it was ‘just a matter of reasonably limiting consumption until the body has formed its immune response’, as was the case with all vaccines.
‘We strongly recommend abstaining from alcohol for three days after each injection,’ Gintsburg said, according to Interfax news agency, reported in The Moscow Times.
The excessive consumption of alcohol could reduce Sputnik V’s effectiveness or even wipe its impact out entirely, he said.
‘Of course we’re not talking about a complete ban on alcohol during vaccination.’
Russia kicked off its vaccination drive for high-risk volunteers in Moscow at the weekend
The conflicting advice follows the start of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccination drive, which kicked off for high-risk volunteers in Moscow last weekend.
Sputnik V is still in clinical safety trials but developers say the vaccine is 95% effective against the virus.
Health officials have estimated that some 100,000 Russians have already received the vaccine, according to The Moscow Times, including 30,000 participants in trials and 8,500 members of the military.
Russia recorded 26,097 new infections on Tuesday, adding to the country’s total of 2.54million – the fourth-highest in the world.
Russia’s more than 44,700 deaths rank as the 10th-highest fatality count.