Flu vaccine jab given only in the morning could save thousands more lives

A new study from the University of Birmingham, UK has found that the flu vaccine is four times more effective if given in the morning.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham found that giving patients the vaccine between the hours of 9am and 11am boosted antibodies to four times the levels of those patients who were immunised between 3pm and 5pm.

Dr Anna Phillips, Principal investigator from the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham said:

“We know that there are fluctuations in immune responses throughout the day and wanted to examine whether this would extend to the antibody response to vaccination. “Being able to see that morning vaccinations yield a more efficient response will not only help in strategies for flu vaccination, but might provide clues to improve vaccination strategies.”

The study featured 276 over 65s at 24 general practices. They were then invited to return a month later to donate a blood sample for analysis.

Prof. Janet Lord, a co-investigator on the study from the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham said:

“A significant amount of resource is used to try and prevent flu infection each year, particularly in older adults, but less than half make enough antibody to be fully protected. Our results suggest that by shifting the time of those vaccinations to the morning we can improve their efficiency with no extra cost to the health service.”

The research team are currently planning a larger study to replicate the findings and to test whether morning time vaccination increases the risk of other conditions. They also plan to test the theory on pneumonia vaccines, which are also offered to all over 65s during the winter in the UK.

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