Soon after Russian officials warned its citizens to avoid alcohol for two months after getting the Sputnik V vaccine shot, health experts in India said on Thursday that the move is a preventive measure for the Covid-19 patients.
According to the experts, warning against alcohol consumption that has been issued is a general immune-boosting measure rather than as a specific contraindication or interaction with the vaccine.
Dr. Praveen Gupta, Director and Head, Neurology, Fortis Hospital in Gurugram, told IANS: “Russian officials have strangely advised few preventive measures for patients taking the vaccine which are likely to prevent them from contracting Covid-19 infection for two months.”
“Either they believe that vaccine will start working after two months or there is no rational reasoning why people should take prolonged precautions despite being vaccinated,” Gupta added.
To suggest such a measure in a country where alcohol consumption is very frequent, it can impact the population socially and economically and it may also make people vary of the vaccine, the expert stressed.
The warning came from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, who said in an interview that Russians will have to observe extra precautions during the 42 days it takes for the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to become effective.
“Russians will have to refrain from visiting crowded places, wear face masks, use sanitizers, minimize contacts and refrain from drinking alcohol or taking immunosuppressant drugs,” Golikova told TASS News Agency.
Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer safety watchdog, recommended avoiding alcohol. “It’s a strain on the body. If we want to stay healthy and have a strong immune response, don’t drink alcohol,” she said.
According to Dr. Jyoti Mutta, Senior Consultant, Microbiology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute in New Delhi, this statement is made with a view to mount a strong immune response in the body after vaccination.
“Although the side effects of the Sputnik vaccine are not known as of now and they claim the vaccine is 90 per cent effective,” she told IANS. “We should evaluate the interaction of alcohol with the vaccine in greater detail before concluding as the vaccine may be used around the world,” Gupta said.