COVID vaccine

Can You Drink After Getting the COVID Vaccine? Illinois Doctor Weighs In

The answer, according to an Illinois doctor with Cook County Health, is yes, but there's a catch

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Can you drink alcohol after getting the coronavirus vaccine?

It's a question some have been asking as eligibility in Illinois continues to expand and more people prepare for their first or second dose.

The answer, according to an Illinois doctor with Cook County Health, is yes, but there's a catch.

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 "It's a great question. The simple, short answer is yes," Dr. Mark Loafman, chair of family and community medicine for Cook County Health, told NBC Chicago. "There's no prohibition against drinking alcohol. It wasn't specifically studied and there's an assumption that some, you know, an average number of people in the study did use alcohol during the study, but it wasn't specifically measured."

"Excessive" alcohol consumption, however, can lead to a weakened immune system, Loafman said.

"We know in general that people who have used alcohol, excessive doses of alcohol, have a weakened immune system and that makes them more susceptible to infection and may weaken their response to a vaccine," he said.

So what is considered excessive? According to Loafman, it's more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women with "consistent use over time."

"The caveat is that amount or more of alcohol use is known to be harmful for the immune system," he said. "It doesn't mean the vaccine wouldn't work, but it may weaken the immune system. So routine drinking that people do and in social situations or what we consider moderate alcohol consumption, there's no reason to alter that behavior simply because of the vaccine."

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