Russian health experts are recommending citizens avoid drinking for two months after they take the state-made COVID-19 vaccine, the New York Post reports.
In an interview with the news agency TASS, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said Russians who take the voluntary vaccine being rolled out across the country should continue to take precautions for several weeks to ensure the vaccine takes effect.
“[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,” she said, noting that the inoculation process with their vaccine Sputnik V is already underway. "I would like to say that the vaccination campaign has already been launched in the Russian army, in the city of Moscow. By the end of the week, all regions of the country will join this campaign.”
Anna Popova of the country’s health watchdog agency agreed in a separate interview, noting that alcohol suppresses the immune system's response.
"If we want to stay healthy and have a strong immune response, don’t drink alcohol," she said. "“Immunity is being formed and one needs to take care.”
Russia has had over 2 million cases and 42,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The country reports that its state-made vaccine is 90 percent effective, close to the effectiveness touted by Pfizer and Moderna’s shots. However, the prohibition on alcohol might hit the country particularly hard, as Russia is still one of the heaviest drinking countries in the world in spite of massive declines in recent decades.