Russia is administering the COVID-19 vaccine it developed called Sputnik V. It is guaranteed not to launch you into space, but it is destined to put a crimp in your social life. Two officials told citizens that they should not drink alcohol for two-months before and after taking the vaccination. Surveys put Russia in the top five nations for liters of alcohol consumed per year.
The Sputnik V apparently requires two doses, 21 days apart. This is similar to the U.S., where two doses several weeks apart are required. On Friday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova told the TASS news agency that for a period of 42 days after receiving their dose, Russian citizens are advised they must still do the following, in addition to abstaining from alcohol:
- Avoid crowded places
- Wear masks
- Use sanitizers
- Minimize close contact
- Avoid immunosuppressive drugs
This beats the United States, where we are being told that those who receive the vaccination may have to keep to most of these preventative measures through some indeterminate mark in 2021, which is absurd. Even more absurd is that a Pfizer chairman doesn’t even know if being vaccinated will prevent you from transmitting COVID-19. Wasn’t that the whole idea?
Even if they are wrong, the Russians seem to be proceeding with confidence and providing an end date to the madness. Golikova added:
“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,” she said, adding that President Vladimir Putin tasked the government and regional authorities to kick off free voluntary vaccination campaign against the coronavirus infection.
Much like the U.S., the Russian government will decide who is vaccinated first. Given the above, it looks like they decided to vaccinate the military first. Interesting choice.
On Tuesday, Anna Popova, head of the consumer watchdog agency Rospotrebnadzor, reinforced the deputy prime minister’s advice. She agrees that Russians need to abstain from alcohol before receiving the vaccination:
“The intake of alcohol needs to stop at least two weeks prior to immunization,” Popova said in an interview with Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda.
Recipients should then abstain from alcohol for “42 days after the first injection,” Popova added. “Immunity is being formed and one needs to take care.”
This seems to be general health advice, as neither woman noted an adverse interaction between alcohol and the vaccine. Popova also recommended not smoking to avoid irritating the lungs.
To make everything as clear as mud, or perhaps anticipating pushback, the vaccine developer contradicted both women. Alexander Gintsburg, who heads the state-run Gamaleya Research Institute, which developed Sputnik V, says abstaining from booze for a total of six days is sufficient:
“It’s just a matter of reasonably limiting consumption until the body has formed its immune response to the coronavirus infection. It’s true not only for Sputnik V, but also for any other vaccine,” Interfax quoted Gintsburg as telling journalists.
“We strongly recommend abstaining from alcohol for three days after each injection,” Gintsburg said.
Excess alcohol consumption suppresses the immune system, reducing Sputnik V’s effectiveness “or even rendering it meaningless,” he added.
“Of course we’re not talking about a complete ban on alcohol during vaccination,” Gintsburg said.
Because that would be a disaster. You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief.