This Type of Drinking May Impair Your Immune Response to the COVID Vaccine

Woman drinking

Should celebrate getting the COVID-19 vaccine with a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail?

You have likely heard differing ideas about how consuming alcohol may or may not interfere with your immune response and the vaccine, and The New York Times reports there is only 1 type of drinking you should worry about regarding the COVID vaccine -- excess drinking.

"There is no evidence that having a drink or two can render any of the current COVID vaccines less effective," The NYT times reports. Potential issues arise when someone is drinking a lot for an extended period of time.

The NYT explains further, "Heavy alcohol consumption impairs the immune response and increases your susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections. It prevents immune cells from traveling to sites of infection and carrying out their duties, like destroying viruses, bacteria, and infected cells; makes it easier for pathogens to invade your cells, and causes a host of other problems."

“If you are truly a moderate drinker, then there’s no risk of having a drink around the time of your vaccine,” Dr. Ilhem Messaoudi, who has studied the effects of alcohol on the immune response, says. “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.”

So what exactly is moderate drinking and when is drinking considered heavy? The NTY reports that experts note moderate is 2 drinks or less for men per day, and only 1 drink per day for women. Heavy drinking is 4 or more drinks for men per day and 3 or more drinks for women.

The Doctors also note your idea of a drink (meaning how far you fill your glass) might be more than the recommended amount. The standard drink size is:

  • Wine - 5 ounces
  • Alcohol - 1.5 ounces
  • Beer - 12 ounces

A glass of wine or a cocktail that exceeds those amounts should be considered multiple drinks. So, having a celebratory drink will not likely have an impact on the effectiveness of your vaccine, but consuming alcholo in excess -- as always -- is not advised.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please call the confidential and free National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit their website.

More: This Is a Sign You Might Have a Drinking Problem

More: Are There Any Health Benefits to Drinking Booze?

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