THOSE BEING vaccinated for COVID-19 should avoid alcohol, experts warn, as it can suppress the body’s healthy immune response to the jab.
A recent experiment conducted by Dr Ronx Ikharia screened blood samples before and after the consumption of three glasses of prosecco. Results showed a reduction in the effectiveness of lymphocyte blood cells, crucial for fighting infection, by up to 50 percent.
The experiment will feature in the upcoming BBC documentary The Truth About…Boosting Your Immune System, airing on Wednesday 6th January.
In support of these findings, Professor Sheena Cruickshank, an immunologist from the University of Manchester said: "You need to have your immune system working tip-top to have a good response to the vaccine, so if you're drinking the night before, or shortly afterwards, that's not going to help.”
A further development in a spate of recent research attesting to the importance of the gut to human health and wellbeing, alcohol consumption is thought to alter the makeup of gut microorganisms that fend off bacteria and viruses.
Specifically, alcohol can impair immune or ‘white’ cells in the blood, such as lymphocyte cells that transmit anti-bodies to combat viruses.
The overconsumption of alcohol can therefore cause immunosuppression, making heavy drinkers more prone to infection.
Reiterating this, Immunologist Eleanor Riley of the University of Edinburgh cautions: “heavy drinkers have many problems and poor immune function is one of them.”
Among the recipients of the Sputnik V vaccine, around 10 percent did not attain full immunity from the virus. Other vaccines have shown similar levels of ineffectiveness. Owing to a lack of research, it is unclear whether alcohol consumption is a factor contributing to these findings.
Pfizer has confirmed its vaccine, developed with BioNTech, does not come with alcohol warnings.