Skip to content

Drinking This Much Could Make Your Vaccine Less Protective, Say Experts

It could impact immune response and amplify side effects.

Since December, when the first COVID-19 vaccine became available, there has been much concern about the after-effects of the jab. In fact, the CDC has continued to update their guidance on what you should and shouldn't do following your shot. One thing they haven't addressed? Whether you can celebrate your vaccination by clinking glasses with your friends and family. Read on to hear what the experts have to say about drinking alcohol post-vaccination—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.


Don't Drink This Much Alcohol After Your Vaccine

Pouring whiskey drink into glass

While there are official guidelines for drinking post-vaccination, many experts point out that while having a drink or two probably won't hurt, drinking to excess can have a negative impact on immunity, and might interfere with vaccine response. 

"If you are truly a moderate drinker, then there's no risk of having a drink around the time of your vaccine," Ilhem Messaoudi, 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 New York Times. "But 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."

Per the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans moderate drinking is defined as 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, with the "standard" drink being five ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, or 12 ounces of beer. Heavy drinking is considered four or more drinks on any day for men and three or more drinks for women. 


There Are Studies Confirming That Alcohol Can Impact Immune Response

Sick man holding his chest in pain while coughing in the living room.

While there is no research surrounding alcohol and the COVID-19 vaccines, previous studies have found that heavy alcohol consumption does negatively impact immunity and can make you more prone to both bacterial and viral infections. However, moderate drinking doesn't have the same effect, and some studies have found that it can actually improve immunity, possibly by reducing inflammation. 


Drinking May Also Amplify Side Effects

Young woman with headache

Dr. Hewlett of the University of Nebraska Medical Center also pointed out to the publication that heavy drinking and the inevitable next-day hangover, could potentially amplify side effects of the vaccine—including fever, malaise or body aches. "Having a glass of champagne probably won't inhibit any immune response," she said. "I think having a celebratory beverage in moderation is fine."

RELATED: The #1 Cause of Heart Attack, According to Science


Keep Protecting Yourself and Others

Young man wearing two face masks.

So keep following Dr. Anthony Fauci's fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah