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When Should I Get the Flu Shot?

When Should I Get the Flu Shot?

Doctors offices and retail clinics are ramping up for flu season, with vaccine promotions kicking into high gear in September. But when should you get yours?

With heightened concerns about flu season in a COVID-19 world, it may be tempting to rush out to get a flu shot as soon as they’re available. But this year, we’re telling patients that it’s best to wait until October if you can. By waiting until then, you’ll have the full 6-month protection to get you through flu season. On average, flu season picks up around October, and peaks between December through February. Waiting to get the vaccine will give you the right coverage at the right time.

Both viruses share some similar symptoms, and it is possible to get both at the same time. Either one alone could put you out of work or school for quite a while, so you really have to be careful. You also don’t wait too long to get one, as it does take a couple of weeks after the shot to get that protection.

The CDC reports that the flu shot is supposed to be a better match this year, and there’s a new high-dose vaccine for adults 65 and older. Talk to your provider about the best option for you.

Also, if you have gotten a flu shot as part of a company-wide flu event in the past, be prepared to make other plans this year – employers may need to shift how they administer flu shots to stay aligned with social distancing measures.

There is a chance flu season could be lighter this year because of people wearing masks and social distancing, but we don’t know for sure, so don’t bank on it.