Flu jabs may be more effective when given in the morning, according to a study in GP practices.
The findings reveal that a morning jab is cost neutral and ‘may improve protection’ from flu in older adults.
Morning vaccinations enhance the antibody response to the flu vaccine, accrding to a University of Birmingham-led study published in the journal Vaccine.
The study saw 267 adults aged 65 and over, without a current infection or immune disorder, taking part across 24 GP practices in the West Midlands between 2011 and 2013.
In all, 15 practices were assigned to morning surgeries and nine were assigned to afternoon surgeries.
After a month, the patients who were vaccinated against the H1N1 A-strain and the B-strain in the morning clinics were more likely to have produced antibodies than those who were given the jab in the afternoon.
The study is the first large scale randomised trial of different times of vaccination. The flu jab is part of the seasonal vaccination programme carried out by GP practices across the UK.
Dr Anna Phillips, who led the study, said that observing that morning flu vaccinations gave a more efficient response would be useful not only for flu vaccinations but might ‘provide clues to improve vaccination strategies more generally.’
Commenting on the study, Dr Ben Neuman, a lecturer in virology at the University of Reading, said: ‘The most important message to take away from this study is that vaccinations work, no matter what time of day they are given.’
At risk patients have been urged to see their GP or pharmacist by Public Health England despite it being well into April, as influenza virus has been found to be circulating later in the season this year.