Antibody Response to Influenza Vaccination Varies With Time of Administration

HealthDay News – Antibody responses after influenza vaccination appear to be more robust when patients are vaccinated in the morning, according to a study published in Vaccine.

British researchers assessed 276 people 65 and older who received vaccinations against three different flu strains between 2011 and 2013. The patients received the vaccines either between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., or 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. 

The researchers found that participants in the morning group had a much larger increase in antibodies against two of the flu strains (H1N1 A and B) one month after vaccination. However, with the third flu strain (H3N2 A), there was no significant difference between the morning and afternoon groups.

“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,” lead investigator Anna Phillips, PhD, of the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences in the United Kingdom, said in a university news release. 

“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 more generally.”

The researchers said they plan to conduct a larger study on the timing of flu vaccinations to test their hypothesis. And they will also examine if morning vaccinations boost the effectiveness of the pneumococcal vaccine.

Summary and Clinical Applicability

“A simple and cost neutral manipulation of the timing of vaccine administration may improve protection from the influenza virus if older adults are vaccinated in the morning,” the authors condlued. 

Limitations and Disclosures

Changes in clinical disease resistance resulting from differences in antibody titers post-vaccination were not addressed in this study. 

The study was funded by the MRCLifelong Health and Wellbeing Collaborative Research Grant. 


Long JE, Drayson MT, Taylor AE, et al.  Morning vaccination enhances antibody response over afternoon vaccination: A cluster-randomised trial. Vaccine. 2016; doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.04.032