You can drink, but don’t go on a bender after your vaccine. Here’s why.
You got the vaccine. You want to celebrate. Is drinking alcohol after getting your COVID-19 vaccine a bad idea?
Pop the champagne — you just got vaccinated, and it’s time to celebrate.
But wait, is drinking alcohol after getting your COVID-19 vaccine a bad idea? Some people are also wondering if it’s OK to drink the day before getting vaccinated. We talked to experts to lay out the answers.
Is it OK to have a drink after getting vaccinated? What about the night before?
Experts say you’re safe to relax with a glass of wine before your vaccination. Likewise, if you want to celebrate afterward with your favorite alcoholic beverage, that’s fine, too.
“There’s no reason that having [an alcoholic] drink would impact the effectiveness of the vaccine as long as you’re drinking responsibly,” says Eric Sachinwalla, medical director of infection prevention and control at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia.
Will drinking increase any potential vaccine side effects?
Some people get temporary side effects after getting vaccinated, like a fever, headache, and fatigue. If you’re receiving one of the two-dose shots (Pfizer or Moderna), it’s more common after your second shot. But some people don’t experience any postvaccine symptoms at all, and there’s no current evidence that alcohol will bring about or increase side effects.
“While there doesn’t seem to be any interaction between the vaccine and alcohol, of course people should always practice moderation,” says Usama Bilal, assistant professor in the Urban Health Collaborative and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University. “If you’re having side effects that are making you feel ill, and you mix that with a hangover, it’s not going to be fun, and that’s the main thing to consider.”
If I’m feeling tired or experiencing any other side effects after vaccination, is it still OK to have a cocktail?
Side effects are normal and generally aren’t something to worry about. But if you’re feeling run down, it’s probably best to celebrate in other ways.
“You should be hydrating and trying to take care of yourself. Alcohol can dehydrate you, which could make you feel worse,” says Sachinwalla.
The majority of people who experience side effects get them within 24 to 48 hours after getting vaccinated. If you’re concerned about feeling extra crappy, consider holding off on popping that champagne. One idea? Save your spirited celebration for when you’re officially “fully vaccinated,” or two weeks after your last dose.
That being said, a single drink isn’t likely to make a huge difference. “Even if you’re feeling kind of fatigued, one drink shouldn’t make recovering from the vaccination any harder,” says Sachinwalla.
» READ MORE: How to prepare for your COVID-19 vaccine appointment
I can have a drink — but what about two, three, or four drinks?
Getting vaccinated is one of the best moves you can make right now for your health. And you’re encouraged to keep riding that healthy train, for at least a few more days postvaccination. In other words, don’t get drunk. Why?
Experts stress two main reasons. The first: Dealing with a hangover headache on top of potential postvaccination symptoms is no one’s idea of a good time. The second: You’re encouraged to report any side effects to the CDC, and mixing alcohol into the equation can make this confusing, says Florence Momplaisir, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Is your headache a result of yesterday afternoon’s vaccine, or the third cocktail you had afterward? “I would advise against heavy alcohol use before or after vaccination, as it is important to monitor and promptly report side effects,” says Momplaisir.
Self-reporting side effects provides useful information for the medical community to learn more about the vaccines. You can do so using V-safe, the CDC’s smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after getting your COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on web survey answers, someone from the CDC may call to check on you and get more information. You can also use the CDC and FDA’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, an online platform that anyone can use to report any side effects.
If I’m having a drink, is there anything else I should know?
“People should celebrate — it’s a huge accomplishment not only for you, but for society as a whole. And if it’s with a glass of wine, that seems to be fine,” says Bilal. “We should all celebrate again when at least 70% of the country has been vaccinated.”
If you plan to have an alcoholic beverage, just make sure you’re “drinking extra water,” Bilal adds. Exactly how much water is the “right” amount depends on multiple factors, including your body weight, how much alcohol you’re drinking, and if you develop a fever postvaccine. But if a set amount will help you stay more mindful, aim for 64 ounces across 24 hours, says Bilal.
Eric Sachinwalla, M.D., is the medical director of infection prevention and control at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia.
Usama Bilal, M.D., Ph.D, MPH, is an assistant professor in the Urban Health Collaborative and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel University.
Florence Momplaisir, M.D., MSHP, FACP, is an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania