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Russia delivers very bad news to its citizens seeking COVID-19 vaccine: No alcohol for two months

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How's that going to go over?

A medical worker prepares to inject a man with a vaccine against COVID-19 at a clinic in Moscow. (Photo by Sergei Karpukhin\TASS via Getty Images)

Russia has its own COVID-19 vaccine its offering to its citizenry that it claims is 95% effective — but there's a catch for anyone who wants to get the shots: no booze for two months.

What's going on with this vaccine?

Last week, Russia began issuing its Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to members of its army as well as education, health care, and social services workers, and then to the rest of the citizenry, the government said via the state-run TASS News Agency.

But the government had a warning for anyone wanting to get the vaccine: You need to abstain from alcohol for about two months during the inoculation process.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova issued the warning Friday, TASS said, telling would-be vaccine patients that they must not only continue virus mitigation efforts — wearing face masks, socially distancing, using sanitizers — but also "refrain from drinking alcohol or taking immunosuppressant drugs."

The head of the nation's consumer safety watchdog, Anna Popova, repeated those warnings Tuesday in an interview with Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda, noting that anyone receiving the vaccine should avoid alcohol for two weeks before the first shot and then for another 42 days afterward because there is a 21-day gap between doses, the Moscow Times reported.

"It's a strain on the body. If we want to stay healthy and have a strong immune response, don't drink alcohol," she pleaded in the interview.

The request could be a tough one for the citizens of a country that, according to the World Health Organization, is the fourth-largest consumer of alcohol per capita, the New York Post noted.

Following Popova's remarks, Alexander Gintsburg, the head of the state-run Gamaleya research center, which was responsible for developing Sputnik V, tempered those warnings a little by saying that, while no one should abuse alcohol during the inoculation process, "a single glass of champagne never hurt anyone," the Times said.

Sputnick V's developers have claimed that the vaccine is 95% effective, the Times reported. But, as the Post revealed, the county has yet to provide studies to show the shots work, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has thus far refused to take it.

The vaccination push over the weekend saw approximately 100,000 people receiving the first of two shots required for the inoculation, according to the Times.

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