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Owen Arthur

Should You Wait to Get Your Flu Shot?

Should You Wait to Get Your Flu Shot?
  • If you’ve been to your local pharmacy chain in the past month or so, you’ve probably seen the pitches to, “Get your flu shot now.” Just about everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot each year, but when’s the best time to get the vaccine to ensure you and your family are protected all season?

    According to some experts, the push to get people immunized as early as August and September may just be a marketing strategy to get people into stores to make additional purchases. Some stores even offer incentives with each vaccine. However, it's unclear how long the immunity provided by the flu vaccine lasts—especially in older people—so getting the shot too early may mean it’s less effective later in the season.

    Flu season usually begins in October or November, peaks between December and March, and can last as late as May, according to the CDC. After getting the vaccine, it takes about 2 weeks to build up an immunity to flu viruses. While it is better to get your flu shot early in the season, rather than not at all, talk to your health care provider about the best time to get your vaccine.

    Image Credit: Thinkstock

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