Some Russians have reacted strongly after a health official told them to stop drinking for two months if they were given the Covid-19 vaccine.
Anna Popova, head of the country’s consumer watchdog, told radio station Komsomolskaya Pravda on Tuesday that people should stop drinking alcohol at least two weeks before getting the first of two injections.
They should then abstain for another 42 days, she advised, which means going without a drink for eight whole weeks.
Popova warned that alcohol would reduce the body’s ability to build immunity to Covid-19.
‘It puts a strain on the body. If we want to be healthy and have a strong immune response, don’t drink alcohol, ”she said.
Elena Kriven, a resident of Moscow, was not a fan of the proposals.
“This really bothers me,” she said.
“It is unlikely that I will not be able to drink for 80 days and I think that the stress the body will cause when quitting alcohol, especially during a festive period, would be worse than the (side effects of the) vaccine and the alleged benefits . “
Sputnik V, licensed through an accelerated process before the end of clinical trials, has been given initially to physicians, soldiers, teachers and social workers, with a large-scale nationwide rollout starting this week.
There are 21 days between the two Russian vaccinations.
Mrs. Kriven was referring to the main New Years holiday.
Many Russians will spend the first 10 days of 2021 relaxed at home or abroad, a period associated with higher alcohol consumption.
Russians are among the heaviest drinkers in the world, although consumption has fallen sharply since 2003.
Popova’s advice was contradicted by Alexander Gintsburg, the developer of the vaccine.
Sputnik V’s Twitter channel posted its very different advice on Wednesday over an image of Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio raising a glass of champagne.
“A glass of champagne doesn’t hurt anyone, not even your immune system,” said Gintsburg.
He said it would be wise to reduce alcohol consumption by a reasonable amount while the body builds up immunity, but said there was no need to give up completely.
However, it was crucial, he said, not to drink alcohol for three days before and after the two required injections.
He said such advice was the same for anyone vaccinated around the world and not specifically for Russia or Sputnik.
The topic sparked lively discussions on social media.
“You should have talked (about alcohol reduction) in the first place,” wrote a Facebook user, Pavel Goriachkin.
“It’s absolutely impossible for most people in our country.”
Another user, Konstantin Roninyo, wrote: “Even I will not sign up for this, even though I rarely drink.
“Drinking something on New Year is sacred!”
Others said the conflicting advice and their own experience showed that there was no need to follow Popova’s recommendations.
“I drank as if there was no tomorrow between the first and second shot,” said a Moscow resident, who did not want to be identified.
“And antibodies are coming out of my ears.”