While we wait for our turn to get vaccinated against COVID-19, we should use the time to make sure we being our healthiest selves to the treatment, according to new research from Ohio State University, USA.

The researchers reviewed 49 vaccine studies in humans dating back 30 years that document how stress, depression and poor health behaviours can negatively affect the body's immune response to vaccination, and how improving health factors can enhance that response.

The impaired immune responses tended to fall into three categories: interference with the development of antibodies against the pathogen, more rapid erosion of antibody protection that does develop, or intensification of vaccination's side effects.

There is good news: The power to make improvements that give us the best chance for a healthy response to the coronavirus vaccine is almost completely in our control.

Managing stress through exercise and mindfulness meditation, getting enough sleep, quitting tobacco use and improving our diets - even in the short term, right around the time of vaccination - could influence how our bodies respond, the evidence suggests.

And for those struggling with depression, now would be a good time to seek professional help.

"When we think of vaccine efficacy, we often think of the vaccine itself. My motivation was to draw attention to the fact that we bring important factors to the table as well - and those factors are modifiable," said Annelise Madison, first author of the paper and a graduate student in clinical psychology at Ohio State.

"If we can address them now, when most of the world has yet to receive the vaccine, we have the chance to make our response to the vaccine quicker, more robust and lasting."

Click here to read more about eating to support the immune system