Mythbusting: Too early for a flu shot?

Young girl getting a flu shot

The flu season is just around the corner—have you already protected yourself and your family? So when is the best time to get a flu shot?

There has been some recent media coverage about getting your flu shot too early, which may have caused some confusion. We asked Sean Elliott, MD, medical director, Infection Prevention for the Banner – University Medicine Division, to shed some light on the subject.

“While it is technically true that one can get the flu shot too early, it also is true that immunity from the flu vaccination takes about two weeks to develop but then lasts for about eight months,” Dr. Elliott explains. “So unless we experience the incredibly rare possibility of a super-prolonged flu season, getting the flu shot as early as September is safe.”

So when should you get your flu shot?

“Certainly, we should all have shots by the end of October, so that our immunity can kick in by mid-November and be thoroughly established by the time flu-season really gets going in December,” Dr. Elliott added. He also mentions that getting the flu shot in July or August is probably too early, just in case the flu season lasts past March or April. He states that getting the flu shot now is perfectly fine and will provide good protection well through the end of the flu season.

Learn more about this year’s vaccine and other information.

Better early or later?

The CDC and national flu-experts all agree that getting the flu shot early is much better than getting it too late or not at all.  Many do not have the time to get the flu shot later in the year and instead often get it well before the start of the flu season.

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