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Most of us who have heard the saying that “the early bird gets the worm” can vouch for how well it applies to real life. Whether it is being at the front of a line during Black Friday or applying for a job position the day it opens, sometimes taking an early initiative pays off very well in the long run. As research would have it, this “early bird” attitude also holds true in medicine. Findings in a newly published study in the journal Vaccine show that flu vaccines provide greater protection when they are administered in the morning rather than later in the day, even after accounting for confounding factors such as socioeconomic status and sleep duration.

Measuring the effectiveness of flu vaccine is not a simple matter of seeing “who got sick” or “who got more sick.” In order to evaluate this parameter, researchers gave participants a standard flu vaccine and took two blood samples, one right before administering the vaccine and one a month after the vaccine. Afterwards, they compared the concentration of anti-influenza antibodies between the two blood samples to see how many antibodies formed after the vaccine. The process is simple, yet effective, as it allowed the researchers to see that two out of three vaccine types saw a significant increase in antibody formation among participants that took their shots in the morning. The third vaccine type didn’t see a significant change in the positive or negative direction.

Why does this happen? Researchers are still trying to figure that out. Nonetheless, the major takeaway from this study is this: if we can make our vaccines work better for our body at no extra cost or trouble — other than not sleeping in and saving that episode of Game of Thrones for the next night — then why don’t we?

It’s time to give early flu shots a shot!

Image Source: Peter Dazeley

Although new research findings are sometimes limited in information, they are critical in paving the way for society to better understand science and health. In essence, we are at the forefront of science, and staying up-to-date with research discoveries such as this allows us to actively improve our lives as time goes on. It’s definitely a great time to be alive.

Feature Image Source: Flu Vaccination Grippe by Daniel Paquet

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