Claim: Do not consume alcohol for 45 days after the Covid-19 vaccination.
Overall, alcohol consumption has been proven to have potential negative effects on general health. However, while it is recommended to refrain from alcohol consumption some days before and after the jab, a 45-days alcohol fast has not been advised by the institutions at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic fight. In Ghana, the FDA recommends a two-days abstinence before and after vaccination.
Messages circulating on social media purport that individuals who have been inoculated against Covid-19 should not consume alcohol for up to 45 days after vaccination. One such message on Facebook, in the form of a newspaper article shared by a user, cites one M.K Sudarshan, chairman of the State’s Technical Advisory Committee, as the originator of the said claim. Sudarshan, according to the article, said alcohol consumption affects ‘immune response’ to the vaccine as observed in other vaccines in the past.
Our initial searches revealed that this claim is from an original report by The Hindu, a daily paper and E-paper publication, in January 2021. The article references M.K. Sudarshan, Chairman of the State’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) who stated that after taking the jab, alcohol should be avoided for 45 days.
“Consumption of alcohol is known to affect the immune response. This has been seen in other vaccines…,” Sudarshan said.
According to Sudarshan, consuming alcohol will inhibit the function of the liver, and especially in people who have been vaccinated, cause the immune system to be compromised, thereby rendering the vaccine ineffective.
Dubawa spoke to officials at the Food And Drugs Authority (FDA) in Ghana who indicated that it is recommended that individuals who take the Covid-19 vaccines abstain from taking alcohol.
“When you are about to take the vaccine, we advise that you suspend alcohol intake. Alcohol has a potential to interrupt the vaccine’s performance and so we advise that you avoid it two days before and two days after.”
We again spoke to Mr Jacob Andoh, Public Relations Officer at Ghana Health Service (GHS), who when asked whether people should avoid alcohol up to 45 days after the Covid-19 vaccine is administered, referred to experts’ advice.
“According to our experts, it’s not true,” Andoh said.
Dubawa also found that the institutions at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic and release of vaccine related information, World Health Organisation (WHO),The Food And Drugs Administration (FDA) and The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not released any guidelines pertaining to the consumption of alcohol after the Covid-19 vaccine administration nor warned against alcohol intake after vaccination.
Various online news outlets have also investigated the claim and have arrived at varied positions.
TheTime of India outlines in its checks pertaining to the claim that “alcohol has not been scientifically proven to be bad for vaccination” and therefore, it can not be said to render Covid-19 vaccines ineffective.
Times Now News also concluded that there is no evidence of association between alcohol intake and the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine. However, the report cautions that alcohol intake is injurious to health and it is especially not advised for people who demonstrate side effects like fatigue, pains in the arm, and fever after being vaccinated.
Other publications have also warned that excessive alcohol consumption can mask the side effects of the vaccine and should therefore be controlled or taken in moderation.
Studies like Klaus W, Lange and Yukiko Nakamura’s 2020 study titled, Movement and Nutrition in Covid-19, suggests that “…lifestyle-related factors, such as reducing smoking rates and limiting alcohol intake, are also important in decreasing disruptive effects on immune functioning and improving ability to overcome infection.”
Additionally, we were unable to identify any clinical tests or research that suggest this although there is scientific evidence that excessive alcohol consumption can be dangerous, affect the immune system, and is not recommended for general health reasons.
From our findings, there is no recommendation from health experts including the WHO for people to avoid alcohol 45 days post-vaccination. However, some authorities advise that people avoid alcohol two days before the vaccine and two days after.