Wondering when to get the flu vaccine? The CDC has some recommendations
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during the 2021-22 season to protect yourself, and the people around you from the flu, and help reduce the strain on health care systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter.
Who should get vaccinated this season?
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exceptions. See more about who should not get vaccinated here. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. Here's a list of people at high risk of developing flu-related complications.
When should I get vaccinated?
You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in your community, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu.
Make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
However, getting vaccinated early (for example, in July or August) is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults.
Vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner, because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.
Dr. Sharon Nachman, head of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children's Hospital, says she is hoping that the continued use of masks, hand sanitizer and washing of hands will cut down on the flu this year.
Dr. Nachman says that if everyone in the family, including grandparents and children, get the vaccine it will help prevent the spread of the flu.