Experts reveal 2 things you can do to potentially make your coronavirus vaccine work better

  • New research suggests that vigorous exercise and a good night’s sleep before receiving the coronavirus vaccine bolsters the immune system and could help hasten the immunization process.
  • Researchers from The Ohio State University found that anxiety and other stressors caused by the pandemic itself can impact the immune system and the body’s response to the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Dr. Fauci remains confident that the U.S. in the coming weeks will be able to start vaccinating 1 million people per day.

As the coronavirus vaccine rollout continues to pick up steam and expand, Dr. Fauci is confident that the U.S. will soon be able to administer 1 million vaccinations a day. Especially with President-elect Joe Biden set to assume office tomorrow, there’s newfound optimism that the U.S. will be able to get a majority of Americans vaccinated over the next few months.

One of the more encouraging things about the coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna is that both were found to be 95% effective at preventing a COVID infection during clinical trials. Still, a new research report set to be published in Perspectives on Psychological Science reveals that there are two activities people can do to bolster their immune system and potentially improve, perhaps ever so slightly, the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine while also reducing the severity of side effects.

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According to the researchers behind the study, engaging in vigorous exercise and getting a good night’s sleep during the 24-48 hour period before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can be beneficial.

“In addition to the physical toll of COVID-19, the pandemic has an equally troubling mental health component, causing anxiety and depression, among many other related problems,” Annelise Madison, a lead author on the paper and research from The Ohio State University said. “Our new study sheds light on vaccine efficacy and how health behaviors and emotional stressors can alter the body’s ability to develop an immune response. The trouble is that the pandemic in and of itself could be amplifying these risk factors.”

While the researchers stop short of saying that sleep and exercise will significantly boost the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, they do claim that these two activities could shorten the amount of time for someone to develop a full immune response. The coronavirus vaccine, it’s worth noting, doesn’t build up immunity immediately but rather takes a few weeks.

The CDC notes:

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination. Therefore, it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.

In a review of scientific literature, the research found that anxiety and other mental health stressors can have a profound impact on an individual’s response to a vaccine.

A blog post from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center relays that an impaired immune response can cause three reactions:

  • interference with the development of antibodies against the pathogen
  • more rapid erosion of antibody protection that does develop
  • intensification of vaccination’s side effects

To this end, Madison adds that “psychological and behavioral interventions can improve vaccine responsiveness” and that it’s important to “identify those at risk for a poor immune response and intervene on these risk factors.”

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