This fall when you get your flu shot, you may want to consider the time of day it is given. This was the conclusion from a study published in the journal Vaccine. The best time to get your flu shot? In the morning which is what appears to be advisable as this is when the antibody levels were significantly higher improving the immune system’s ability to produce antibodies responding to the influenza vaccine. This advice is primarily being given to adults 65 and older.
Older adult’s immune systems become weaker as they age. Because of this they are less able to produce a protective antibody response to vaccinations. This study sought to determine where they are variations in immune responses depending on the time of day the vaccine is given and how that affects the antibody response to vaccination.
The study, conducted at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. had around 300 participants ages 65 and older with half given the flu vaccine between 9 am and 11 am while the other half received the shot between 3 pm and 5 pm. The researchers measured the antibodies in each participant’s blood one month later to see what was produced in response to the vaccine. It takes about two weeks to one month for antibody levels to peak. The discovery was made that antibody levels were much higher in the group who had their flu shot in the morning.
When a person gets flu shot, it stimulates the immune system to made antibodies that will recognize what strain of influenza may be affecting people that year. A person’s age and overall health also determine how effective a vaccine is. The older a person is, the more their immune system declines. This is why finding out that people over the age of 65 who receive a flu shot in the morning may be better protected boosting their ability to fight off the flu if they come down with it.
Overall, everyone who is able to should get their flu vaccine. Morning hours would be advisable for older people but if that is not convenient, it is still encouraged to go ahead and get it whenever they can. The more people who are immunized against the flu, the less flu there is to battle.