What is the best time of day to get a flu shot?
The flu shot stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies that protect an individual from various strains of flu for the given year. These strains usually change annually. The overall effectiveness of the vaccine is dependent, in part, on the age and health of the individual getting vaccinated.
Our immune system can fluctuate during the course of the day. As we age, our immune system can decline.
The University of Birmingham in the U.K. conducted a study on the timing of the administration of the flu shot using a group of about 300 people age 65 and older. The results are fascinating!
In the study, half of the group was given the shot between 9 and 11 AM, the other half between 3 and 5 PM. Because antibodies need at least two weeks to develop, they decided to wait one month before drawing their blood and checking their antibody level. Remarkably, antibody levels in the morning group were a lot higher!
Keep in mind that time of day does not affect all types of vaccines. This recent study only focused on flu shots. Also, these findings do not ensure that if you get a flu shot in the morning, you will not get the flu, But, if you are 65 or older, why not take advantage of the edge?
If you have a choice of getting the shot in the morning, take it. Above all, don’t refuse the shot. Having the flu shot administered at any time of day is better than not having it at all.