Karnataka: Dilemma over booze also a cause for low turnout | Bengaluru News – Times of India
BENGALURU: The misconception that drinking liquor after being inoculated against Covid will trigger adverse effects appears to be among prime reasons — CoWIN portal glitches is another — for the low turnout at the inoculation drive. However, experts categorically say drinking will not cause adverse effects, although they say it will diminish the vaccine’s efficacy.
The misconception spread after some doctors and state Covid-19 management authorities had said on the first day of the vaccination programme that people should stay away from booze for 45 days after inoculation.
This lowered enthusiasm, especially among Group C and D employees, who account for a considerable chunk of the 7.4 lakh healthcare and frontline workers being covered in the first phase. Many preferred to wait and watch.
Health officials have flagged the issue and health minister K Sudhakar has embarked on damage control. He said efforts will be made to allay “unwarranted fears”. Given that these are healthcare workers who are shunning the vaccine, the fear is that it could spill over to the general population.
“Covid vaccination, per se, does not prohibit people from drinking,” Sudhakar said. “But, in a general sense, people need to drink responsibly.” He said awareness campaigns, aimed at dispelling this and other misconceptions, including deaths unrelated to vaccination and comparison between vaccines, are being readied.
Other experts TOI spoke to have seconded the minister. Dr S Vijaya, retired professor of microbiology, IISc, said, “The only concern is that drinking may reduce immunity levels. So it’s better to avoid drink at least for a few days if one wants the vaccine to be 100% effective.”
She said the issue has created confusion even in other countries. While experts in Russia and UK have advised people to avoid drinking for a brief period after vaccination, experts in the US say moderate drinking will not affect the immune response.
Dr Satyanarayana Mysore, pulmonologist, who has treated hundreds of Covid patients, said since there is no direct interaction between the vaccine and alcohol, there would be no adverse events.
“One must avoid binge drinking in any case,” Dr Mysore said. “While moderate drinking will do no harm, stopping abruptly is not advisable either as it may cause other complications.”
Dr MK Sudarshan, chief, state Covid technical advisory committee, who had urged people not to drink for 45 days after being vaccinated, said it was an advisory made in a general sense. “There is a 28-day gap between doses. Current data shows antibodies develop 14 days after the second dose. So it’s better to stay away from liquor in order to ensure vaccine efficacy,” he said.