You’ve done it – you’ve waited to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, you refreshed web pages until you got an appointment, and you showed up, getting a quick prick in the arm.
You may be ready to pop the champagne or crack open a beer and celebrate, but hold on for a moment.
Can you even drink alcohol after you get the COVID-19 vaccine? What about before?
Health officials have confirmed that you shouldn’t take painkillers before getting a shot to prevent symptoms, but, if your doctor agrees, you can use them afterward if needed.
We know there are side effects after the vaccine — the CDC says you may experience fever, nausea, body aches, headaches, chills and other similar symptoms after you receive both your first and second dose.
If you aren’t familiar, some of those symptoms are similar to a hangover.
But there is no advice from the CDC regarding drinking alcohol before or after getting your dose. In Russia, a scientist caused a stir when she recommended Russians stop drinking alcohol two weeks before getting the vaccine, then three weeks after the second. Another Russian scientist was interviewed and recommending you don’t drink alcohol for three days after each injection, according to Forbes.
So can you drink alcohol before or after you get the vaccine?
While there is no firm answer, most health officials advise against drinking because of the symptoms that may occur after you get your dose.
“Vaccine side effects include muscle aches and pains and feeling under the weather. Compounding that with the side effects of alcohol runs the risk of making you feel worse,” Tania Elliott, MD, clinical instructor of medicine at NYU Langone Health, tells Health.
Having a glass of wine or a pint of beer after your vaccine appointment could make the side effects a bit worse, Dr. William Greenough III, M.D., professor emeritus of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, tells Bustle.
While it’s true that chronic, heavy drinking and binge drinking can suppress your immune system, Richard Kennedy, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Vaccine Research Group, says an occasional drink — including one after your second dose, “won’t have an effect.”
Ultimately, while having a drink after getting either of your doses won’t make your recovery any harder, health officials agree that instead of having alcohol, you should focus on staying hydrated and taking care of yourself in case of symptoms of the vaccine.
What else should I know about the vaccine?
There have been a lot of questions about the vaccine and what you can do before or after getting your shot. Here are a few frequently asked questions, answered:
Can I travel again after getting the vaccine?
If you have been fully vaccinated, the CDC says you can resume travel at “low risk” of getting or spreading COVID-19. Because of this, those who are fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine can travel safely within the U.S. without getting tested before or after travel – unless their destination requires it – and they do not need to self-quarantine.
How long will the vaccine protect me?
New research suggests the protection the Moderna vaccine gives against COVID-19 lasts for at least six months. Research on the Pfizer vaccine has found the same results. Both vaccines have only been available in the U.S. for six months.
Can I take medication before getting the vaccine?
The CDC recommends that people avoid pain medicine like Tylenol or Ibuprofen prior to getting the vaccine. The chance that over-the-counter medications will affect your immune response is unlikely, the Utah Department of Health says, but it is still not known for sure if they can impact the vaccine’s effectiveness.
Why does the second COVID-19 vaccine dose have more side effects than the first?
It’s widely known that the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines tend to come with more side effects than the first, including tiredness, headaches, chills, fever, nausea and muscle pain. With the first dose, your body begins building its initial immune response, including producing antibodies.
But with the second shot — a.k.a. the second exposure to the virus — “the big guns” of your immune system react.
How long should I wait to get the vaccine after having the virus?
According to Jenny Johnson, Public Information Officer with the Utah Department of Health, people who have had COVID-19 can safely be vaccinated.
The only “rule” about being vaccinated after being infected with the virus, she says, is that people must have completed the quarantine period and be symptom-free.
“There is no reason why someone should not get the vaccine after being infected,” Johnson says.
Can I donate blood after receiving the vaccine?
You can, but the American Red Cross says it is important to note which type of vaccine you got.