Russian authorities are urging people to avoid alcohol for two months after getting the country's COVID-19 vaccine—a hard-to-swallow news for one of the world's heaviest-drinking countries.
The alert came from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, who said in an interview that the Russians would have to take extra precautions over the 42-day period to make the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine safe.
“[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,” Golikova told TASS News Agency.
Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer safety watchdog, echoed the sentiments in an interview with Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda, as reported in the Moscow Times.
“It’s a strain on the body. If we want to stay healthy and have a strong immune response, don’t drink alcohol,” she said.
According to the World Health Organisation, Russia is the fourth largest user of alcohol per person in the world. The average Russian consumes 15.1 liters (almost 4 gallons) of alcohol each year, according to the Department.
Russia's attempts to vaccinate its citizens started in Moscow on the weekend. The country's health authorities report that 100,000 people have already been inoculated.
“By the end of the week, all regions of the country will join this campaign,” Golikova said.
Russian health officials state that the Sputnik V vaccine is more than 90% successful, but reports say that medical workers who took the shot have been killed by COVID-19. Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly declined to consider it.
Western scientists have expressed skepticism at the pace at which the supposed vaccine was created, and Russia has not provided any evidence to back up its claims for the shot.
Russia has reported 2.4 million coronavirus cases and more than 42,000 deaths from the disease.
Article Edited and Republished for CTen by Suraj Maity