People receiving Covid vaccines ‘should avoid alcohol’

Alcohol can reduce the immune system’s response to a Covid-19 vaccine, experts have warned.

People receiving jabs should avoid drinking alcohol because it alters the make-up of microorganisms in the gut that help stop bacteria and viruses getting through, according to Immunologist Professor Sheena Cruickshank.

It came after Emergency medicine expert Dr Ronx Ikharia found three glasses of Prosecco reduced the levels of white blood cells, including lymphocytes which help attack viruses with antibodies, by up to half.

She carried out an experiment showing this on The Truth About… Boosting Your Immune System, which airs on the BBC on Wednesday. 

Lymphocytes account for 20% to 40% of white blood cells in adults and help fight viruses in lymph nodes, the spleen and other areas where an immune response is likely to be needed first.

Lymphocytes play a key role in determining the immune response to foreign substances like the Covid-19 virus, a team of scientists from Wuhan, China previously found 

Prof Cruickshank, from the University of Manchester, said: ‘You need to have your immune system working tip-top to have a good response to the vaccine, so if you’re drinking the night before, or shortly afterwards, that’s not going to help.’ 

Hospitals have begun receiving the first batches of the newly approved Oxford University/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine ahead of the jab’s rollout tomorrow. 

Some 530,000 doses will be ready to be administered across the UK, with healthcare workers, people living in care homes and the elderly being prioritised.

Distribution of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab began almost a month ago, with more than a million people having already received their first coronavirus jab.

The government is targeting around two million vaccination every week which may be required to ease most restrictions by Easter.

Meanwhile, the UK has recorded more than 50,000 new coronavirus cases for the sixth day running, while a further 454 deaths were also reported. 

Another 54,990 Covid-19 infections were confirmed on Sunday, amid increasing warnings that the NHS will not be able to cope with the coming surge in hospitalisations.

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