Is It Too Early To Get A Flu Shot?

by Thea Glassman
Image via Remains/Getty

The CDC is warning that it might be too soon for certain people to get their flu shots

Winter is slowly but surely inching our way, which means that all the icky repercussions (fever, running nose, the whole works) is imminent as well. Before you rush out to get your flu shot, there are a few important warnings to take into consideration.

The best time for adults to get their shot at is the end of the October, according to the CDC. It takes about two weeks for the vaccination to go to work and allow your body to develop the antibodies that fend off the flu. Get the shot too early, and the vaccine can weaken over time. Too late, and it won’t kick in with enough time.

Consumer Reports also noted that older adults – 60 years and up – will particularly benefit from waiting to get their shot.

“Research suggests that…the immune system’s virus-fighting ability begins to drop after about four months—sooner than it may for others,” the nonprofit explained. “[They] might want to wait until late September or early October to be vaccinated—and to be sure that their protection will cover as much of flu season as possible.”

If you’re not able to get vaccinated during that timeline, though, you should get the flu shot regardless. The vaccination will still play an important role in your health.

“Millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year,” the CDC noted. “An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu.”

That timing differs for children. According to Consumer Reports, kids between the age of 6 months and 8 years old who have never had a flu shot or been vaccinated should receive the vaccination before October. Preferably as soon as the flu shot becomes available, the site noted. This is because that age group should get two doses of the vaccination, administrated 28 days apart.

If a child is 9 or older, they only need one dose regardless of their vaccination history, according to American Academy of Pediatrics. The AAP emphasized that the shot will significantly reduce the risk of a child developing influenza.

“The flu virus is common – and unpredictable. It can cause serious complications even in healthy children,” Flor M. Munoz, MD, noted. “Being immunized reduces the risk of a child being hospitalized due to flu.”