The human immune system is an early riser—and that’s why it may make sense to get your COVID shots in the morning.
A new study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland recommends that time of day be considered when administering vaccines to increase their effectiveness.i
Why is morning better?
It’s because of our circadian rhythms. That’s the natural body clock that controls many of our biological functions, including our immune system.
Your Immune System Wakes Up Early
In the morning, like the rest of us, our immune system “wakes up.” After we get up and start moving, we are at greater threat of encountering germs. So immune cells that spent the night in our lymph nodes surge into our bloodstream looking for infections. Then, as the day goes on, our immune system activity gradually wanes.
Vaccines given in the morning can be more effective because more of our immune cells are in circulation and will be exposed to the vaccine, generating more antibodies, researchers believe.ii
The study was published in the journal Nature Immunology.
Previous research has found that morning shots are more effective for flu vaccinations.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham in England gave the flu vaccine to 276 seniors. About half got the shot in the morning between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. The other half were vaccinated between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
People Vaccinated in the Morning Have More Antibodies
After a month, scientists analyzed blood samples from the subjects. Those who got the shot in the morning had significantly more flu antibodies.iii
The results confirm those of a study published in the journal Psychophysiology. It found that both the flu shot and the hepatitis A vaccines were more effective when given in the morning.
Morning vaccination may be an especially good strategy for people with immune deficiencies.
A new study by the CDC shows that people whose immune systems are impaired because of cancer, organ transplants, or inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or gout. don’t respond to the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines as well as other people.iv
The study found that two doses of either vaccine are 77% effective against hospitalization in immunocompromised people. This is far lower than plus-90% effectiveness in people without immune deficiencies.
Getting shots in the morning shortly after you wake up may be a simple and effective way to maximize the protection you get from vaccinations.
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