A health official’s warning that anyone getting vaccinated against Covid-19 with Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine should give up alcohol for almost two months has caused a backlash among some Russians who call the request unreasonable. Anna Popova, head of the consumer health watchdog, told the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station on Tuesday that people should stop drinking alcohol at least two weeks before getting the first of two injections. They should continue to abstain for a further 42 days, she advised. Sputnik V, licenced under an accelerated process before the end of clinical trials, has been given to doctors, soldiers, teachers and social workers in the first instance with a large-scale nationwide roll out due to begin this week. There are 21 days between the two Russian vaccine jabs. “This really bothers me,” said Elena Kriven, a Moscow resident. “I’m unlikely to not be able to drink for 80 days and I reckon the stress on the body of giving up alcohol, especially during what is a festive period, would be worse than the (side effects of the) vaccine and its alleged benefits,” she said. Kriven was referring to the main New Year public holiday. Many Russians will spend the first 10 days of 2021 relaxing at home or abroad, a period associated with higher alcohol use. The topic generated lively discussion on social media. Russians are among the heaviest drinkers in the world, though consumption has fallen sharply since 2003. Popova warned alcohol would reduce the body’s ability to build up immunity to Covid-19. “It’s a strain on the body. If we want to be healthy and have a strong immune response, don’t drink alcohol,” she said. Hackers steal Pfizer vaccine data in Europe Her advice was contradicted by Alexander Gintsburg, the vaccine’s developer. The Sputnik V Twitter channel on Wednesday published his very different advice above an image of Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio raising a glass of champagne. “One glass of champagne won’t hurt anyone, not even your immune system”, said Gintsburg. "One glass of champagne won't hurt anyone, not even your immune system", said Dr Gintsburg, developer of the #SputnikV vaccine. pic.twitter.com/1EAqdbMLpY — Sputnik V (@sputnikvaccine) December 9, 2020 He said it would be prudent to reduce alcohol use by a reasonable amount while the body built up immunity, but said there was no need to give up completely. It was crucial however, he said, to refrain from alcohol three days before and after the two injections required. He said such advice was the same for anyone getting vaccinated around the world and not specific to Russia or Sputnik. UAE approves ‘86 per cent effective’ Chinese coronavirus vaccine Meanwhile in the UK, the National Health Service said people with a significant history of allergies should not currently receive the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, after two people experienced reactions from the shots. The warning on Wednesday came a day after the UK became the first Western nation to begin a Covid-19 vaccination programme, following approval of the shot last week by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Thousands of people received vaccinations on Tuesday, according to the NHS. “As is common with new vaccines the MHRA have advised on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive this vaccination,” Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS in England, said in a statement. June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said her team looked at two case reports of allergic reactions on Tuesday evening. Both of the people, staff members of the NHS, are recovering well, the health service said. Patients with a history of severe adverse reactions to a vaccine or severe allergic reactions to any component of the treatment were excluded from participating in the large study run by the companies before approval.