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Is there an optimal time to get flu prevention this year?



Illustration for an article entitled Is there an optimal time to get the flu this year?

Photo: pixelaway (Shutterstock)

Influenza vaccines are now available in many places and, as we have noted, it is especially important to get a flu shot this year. (You do not want to have COVID and flu, nor do you want to catch the flu and seek tests and care because you don’t know if it could be COVID.) So is it time? Get it now if you want – although if you want to wait, that’s fine, but get it by October.

You can’t predict the exact best time to get vaccinated against the flu, except in the back. Some people prefer not to get shot too early because flu protection may disappear with the end of the season. But if you wait too long, you won’t be protected if the flu season starts early.

Although these trade-offs suggest that there may be an optimal window for a shot, public health scientists have studied the issue and found that there is no clear answer. The best advice they have: Any time is better than procrastination and not getting it at all.

CDC 2020 update for flu recommendations includes a brief discussion on the subject, in which they conclude that the optimal time to fire depends on a bunch of factors that we cannot control or predict. For example, if you knew the date the flu would arrive in your city, you could shoot yourself two weeks ahead of time – perfectly. But since you can’t know, it’s best to get one when you can.

If you want a recommendation, the CDC committee adheres to the board of make your shot by the end of October. It’s good at any time before that. The flu can arrive in your area as early as October, but more often it doesn’t peak until January, so if you shoot yourself in October, you’re probably ready for anything.

Personally, I get mine in September. There are many flu clinics at this time, and pharmacies usually have deals for walks. Also – this is my real reason – I take my children to their annual checkups in September. The kids get theirs, I get mine and we’re all ready for the season.

But if you walk past the pharmacy every day and wonder if it’s not early? Just go ahead and take the photo now if you think you can forget by postponing it. Every time is better than never.


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