My fellow inebriates,
My dad has had his first dose of the vaccine, and my mum is on the list. As you know, bears need no vaccine because we are already petri dishes of jockeying germs, and COVID wouldn’t make a difference to us.
My dad got the shot shortly after having actual COVID, which kicked his ass for a good three weeks. Just as he was starting to recover, BAM! Pfizer kicked his ass with three bonus days of fever and sweats. All good now, though.
Perhaps needless to say, my dad wasn’t much of a party animal as we headed into spring. Where once I could rely on him to pour (and share) a beer or whiskey in the evening, COVID-infected Dad was no fun at all.
(To recap why I depend on my parents to open the bar, I have no thumbs.)
So now my mum’s about to get her jab, and she’s talking about abstaining from alcohol to maximize her immune response.
I immediately went to Google to find some evidence against this sort of extremist action.
The idea that alcohol could mess with immunity first surfaced in Russia, where a health official recommended abstaining two weeks before the vaccine and 42 days afterward. Russians were incensed by this of course.
There is no evidence for this recommendation. No COVID/alcohol studies have been conducted. All we have to go on is the evidence from past studies on animals to see whether alcohol affected their immune responses after vaccination. Where do I sign up for one of those animal studies? (It helps to be a rat or a monkey.)
What evidence is there?
Subjects with alcohol use disorder have increased susceptibility to viral and bacterial infections. Moderate alcohol use is associated with an enhanced immune response.
Monkeys who were given all-access drinking privileges for seven months and whose blood/alcohol levels regularly exceeded 80 mg/ml had a lowered immune response. But monkeys who drank moderately had higher levels of antiviral cytokines.
So, Mum, moderate is the way to go. And moderate is okay. To be honest, I don’t need to see my you or Dad bust out these days—it would be embarrassing for everybody. Just pour yourself 1.5 oz. of something nice, and be ready to share it with this would-be experimental bear.