Hyderabad: Russian health officials in December warned the public in Russia that anyone getting vaccinated with the Russian vaccine Sputnik V should not consume alcohol for at least 42 days.

Anna Popova, head of the consumer health watchdog, Russia, told the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station on December 8 that people should stop drinking alcohol for at least two weeks before getting the first of two injections. "They should continue to abstain for further 42 days too," she had advised.

After that, in India, many, including some public administrators also said that people should avoid consuming alcohol for 45 days after taking the vaccine shot.

Though the doctors are saying that this restriction is recommended for any vaccine, this is not exclusively mentioned for the COVID-19 vaccine. "I would not comment on the recommendations for Sputnik V, but it is true that immunity is generally reduced by alcohol. This is a general recommendation that doctors tell patients after taking any vaccine. I have not come across any literature or data that mentions this recommendation exclusively for COVID-19 vaccines made in India," said Dr Venkata Rao, principal investigator for a clinical trial of Covaxin at the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, Bhubaneshwar.

Doctors part of the clinical trials also say that no such guidelines are released in our country. "The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has not released any such guidelines where they are asking people not to consume alcohol for 45 days," said Dr Chandramani Singh, principal investigator for a clinical trial of Covaxin at AIIMS, Patna.

"Without any data and guidelines from the health department, we cannot give this recommendation to the public. If there is something, the health ministry will mention it in the guidelines of the vaccine," said Dr R Vasudev, principal investigator for a clinical trial of Covaxin at King George Hospital, Vizag.

Most of the doctors are not saying that avoiding alcohol is compulsory but that it is advisable not to consume it as it might decrease immunogenicity. "People might get hesitant about this but again this is just general advice," said Dr Nidhi Chaturvedi, Jeevan Rekha Hospital, Belgaum.

Sumit Kumar Jha

Sumit Kumar Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University and Amity University, he has interned with The New Indian Express and CGNet Swara. Sumit has also worked with video production houses in Mumbai as an assistant director in shows like 21 Sarfrosh for Discovery Jeet. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also the contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, human interest and data stories.

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