My Patients Ask — Some say behavior changes give a better COVID vaccine response

My friends at ConsumerLab have pointed out some research I thought you might find helpful to consider before you get the COVID vaccine.

Research conducted with other types of vaccines has shown that stress, depression, lack of social support, and lack of sleep can impair the immune system’s response to vaccines.

Other lifestyle habits that can have a negative impact include lack of exercise, poor overall nutrition, and smoking (Madison, J Soc Sci Humanit 2021 — preprint).

An article in which experts in this field of research were interviewed notes that the pandemic could be amplifying risk factors, but it is possible to do some simple things to maximize the vaccine’s initial effectiveness.

One strategy suggested is to “engage in vigorous exercise and get a good night’s sleep in the 24 hours before vaccination so that your immune system is operating at peak performance.

However, don’t exercise strenuously just before the jab. Until more is known, experts are advising the avoidance of vigorous exercise 2 hours before and after the vaccination. Others recommend avoiding hot showers 2 hours before and after the vaccine. The reason? Exercise and vigorous showers can rarely trigger allergic reactions in some people.

These tips may help ensure that the best and strongest immune response happens as quickly as possible.” (Assoc Psych Sci January 13, 2021).

One thing for sure, it’s not likely to hurt!


This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus and the COVID vaccine develops, the information above may have changed since it was last updated. While I aim to keep all of my blogs on COVID and the COVID vaccine up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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