Fury as Russians urged to avoid booze for two months after having Covid vaccine

Russian officials have sparked fury after warning citizens not to booze for nearly two months after receiving its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine.

Anna Popova, head of the consumer health watchdog, claimed drinking alcohol would reduce the body's ability to build up immunity to Covid-19.

She said: "It's a strain on the body. If we want to be healthy and have a strong immune response, don't drink alcohol."

The official said people should quit booze at least two weeks before getting the first of two injections and continue to abstain for a further 42 days.

But Russians hit back at the "unreasonable" request and claimed it would outweigh the vaccine's benefits.

They are among the heaviest drinkers in the world, although booze consumption has fallen sharply since 2003.

Elena Kriven, of Moscow, said: "This really bothers me. I'm unlikely to not be able to drink for 80 days."

She said the "stress on the body of giving up alcohol, especially during what is a festive period" would be "worse" than the vaccine’s side effects and "alleged benefits".

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The vaccine’s developer Alexander Gintsburg contradicted the official advice, saying: "One glass of champagne won't hurt anyone, not even your immune system."

He said it would be prudent to reduce alcohol use by a reasonable amount while the body built up immunity.

There was no need to give up completely, he added.

But it was crucial to stay off it for three days before and after the two injections required.

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He said such advice was the same for anyone getting vaccinated around the world and not specific to Russia or Sputnik.

One Moscow resident said: "I boozed like there was no tomorrow between the first and second jabs.

"And I've got antibodies coming out of my ears."

Pavel Goriachkin wrote on Facebook: "It’s absolutely impossible for most people in our country."

The Sputnik V vaccine has been licensed under an accelerated process before the end of clinical trials.

Doctors, soldiers, teachers and social workers have been given it in the first instance with a large-scale nationwide rollout due to begin this week.

There are 21 days between the two Russian vaccine jabs.

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