What to know before your shot

Jason Wallace (C), Director of the Fathers, Men and Boys Commission for the District of Columbia receives some emotional support from the director of the DC Office of Nightlife and Culture, Shawn Townsend (L), and Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio (R) a shot of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine by DC Health Nurse Kendria Brown during a walk-in clinic at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Outdoor Performing Arts on May 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

More than half of adults in the United States have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Many wonder if it is safe to celebrate their Covid shot with an alcohol shot when second doses come in and millions more will be vaccinated soon.

Marijuana smokers who use the plant as a pain and anxiety reliever can also turn to the herb for treatment of side effects.

Bars across the country offer free beer if guests provide proof of vaccination. Some bars in New Jersey even offer a beer on-site during the vaccination.

“A glass of wine or beer is fine, but heavy drinking can suppress your immune system and should generally be avoided. As always, moderation is key,” said Katherine Yang, clinical professor of pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco, told CNBC .

Dr. Anne Liu, an infectious disease doctor at Stanford Health, told CNBC that a celebratory drink or two is perfectly fine and it doesn’t make any difference whether you drink on the day of the vaccine or a week later.

“When people drink enough to affect their livers, it can affect their immune systems,” Liu said. “The liver is a very important organ for a normal immune response and people who have poor liver function for various reasons may not respond well to the vaccine and are generally at greater risk of complications from Covid,” she said .

Marijuana depends on the type of consumption. Marijuana can be consumed in a variety of ways, from food to steam to smoke and much more. Cigarette smokers are particularly at risk for complications with Covid-19.

“Smoking has specific effects on blood vessels and the cardiovascular system,” said Liu. “What is not necessarily the case with other respiratory viruses, and was clearly the case with Covid, is that people with disorders of the blood vessels and the cardiovascular system are at a much higher risk of complications with Covid, which is why smokers are high priority in some cases had places to get the vaccine, “she said.

Consuming marijuana in ways other than smoking is probably okay: “While there are no studies on the effects of marijuana and Covid vaccines, it is unlikely to affect the immune response to vaccines,” Yang said. “However, it is possible that marijuana or wine could make side effects of the vaccine such as headache, nausea, or pain worse, so be careful.”

Regarding harder drugs like cocaine or ecstasy, Liu said we probably don’t know enough to be able to tell whether or not it’s safe.

“It is unlikely that anything in modest amounts of these substances will affect your immune system significantly … but it becomes much less predictable. If you use it recreationally, you might just skip it that day to get a vaccine, is celebration enough, “she said.

Experts generally agree that moderation is key when using marijuana or alcohol. If a person is already consuming these substances on a regular basis, it is likely okay to pour them out or roll them up on the day of your vaccination.

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