Timing is everything — old saying could also be true for COVID-19 vaccine shots

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Morning, noon or night: does is matter what time of day you get your COVID-19 shot? A new study says it might.

“Not just for vaccinations, but for all medications, there’s increasing evidence that the time of day can make it more effective,” said Dr. Elizabeth Klerman, a professor of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Klerman studies how the time of day or year impacts people and other organisms.

“The most effective thing is to take your medication or get the vaccine but can it be more effective at some point of time of day, or actually have less side effects for some time?” is what Klerman’s study was looking to answer.

Klerman reviewed vaccination data from more than 2,700 health care workers in the U.K. Researchers tracked the antibody levels for people who got a shot at three points in the day: 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

It was found that people who got their shot later in the day developed more antibodies.

CBS 17 asked if people should be using this study to choose a time to set up an appointment.

“No, not yet. This is a study for us to understand from one study what may be happening physiologically,” said Klerman.

The study tracked antibody levels but scientists still don’t know how much you need to develop for protection. It may be that although the earlier group had lower levels of antibodies, they still reached the threshold for the amount needed to have full protection.

In addition, there’s more that goes into an immune system response than just antibodies.

“This is just the easiest thing to measure and that’s one of the ways we record it. We know it’s relevant but it’s not the only thing,” said Klerman.

Plus, more information is needed from patients like medical history and their individual sleep patterns. Klerman says the most important thing is to get vaccinated as soon as you can.

“Because when you vaccinate yourself, you are also helping protect everybody else,” Klerman said.

Another important thing to note is that this study included the AstraZeneca vaccine. That’s not available for use in the U.S.

That is another reason Klerman said she’d like to see more studies on this topic.

“I would be happy to talk to anybody that wants to conduct such a trial and work with them to properly design the trial,” said Klerman.

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