By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Moscow: Russian government has warned citizens to avoid alcohol for two months after receiving the country’s COVID-19 vaccine — tough-to-swallow news for one of the world’s heaviest-drinking countries.
The warning came from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova, who said in an interview that Russians will have to observe extra precautions during the 42 days it takes for the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to become effective.
“[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 said.
Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer safety watchdog, echoed the sentiments in an interview with Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda, as said.
“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 Organization, Russia is the fourth-largest consumer of alcohol per person in the world. The average Russian consumes 15.1 litres (almost 4 gallons) of alcohol a year, according to the agency.
Russia’s efforts to vaccinate its population began in earnest over the weekend in Moscow. Health authorities in the country estimate 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 say the Sputnik V vaccine is over 90 per cent effective, but reports say medical workers who have taken the shot have come down with COVID-19. Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly refused to take it.
Western experts have expressed scepticism at the speed at which the purported vaccine was developed and Russia hasn’t provided any data to back up its claims for the shot.
Russia has recorded 2.4 million coronavirus cases, as well as over 42,000 deaths from the disease.