When Should I Get My Flu Vaccine
Flu vaccine effectiveness can have a lot to do with when you get it. Its recommended to get your flu vaccine about 2 weeks before flu season begins in your area preferably by the end of October. However, if you get the flu vaccine too early July or August, for instance you may not be protected for the entire flu season.
While September or October are the ideal times to get your flu vaccine, its still recommended to get it later than that if you were unable to do so earlier. If youre unsure when flu season begins in your area, talk to your local pharmacist or healthcare provider.
If youve recently received or will be receiving a COVID-19 vaccine including booster doses you dont have to wait a certain time to get the flu vaccine. You can even get them on the same day, if thats more convenient. These two vaccines arent known to interfere with each other.
A Pharmacy Or Grocery Store Can Be A Fast Way To Get A Flu Shot But Are Places Like These Safe
Yes, its perfectly safe to get your flu shot at your local pharmacy or grocery store, provided the workers and nearby patrons are following COVID-19 safety guidelines, says Chen.
CVS Pharmacy, for instance, offers flu shots for walk-in patients or by appointment, and ensures safety with the following precautions:
- All staff, patients, and outside customers must abide by physical distancing guidelines.
- Pharmacists wear masks, gloves, and face shields.
- Patients are required to wear face coverings and answer COVID-19 screening questions.
The more convenient getting a flu shot is, the more people will get one, Chen adds. VaccineFinder can show you locations in your area that offer flu shots.
Who Should Not Have The Flu Vaccine
Most adults can have the flu vaccine, but you should avoid it if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.
You may be at risk of an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine injection if you have an egg allergy. This is because some flu vaccines are made using eggs.
Ask a GP or pharmacist for a low-egg or egg-free vaccine.
If you’re ill with a high temperature, it’s best to wait until you’re better before having the flu vaccine.
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The Best Time To Get A Flu Shot In 2021
The best time to get a flu shot is before the flu season begins at the end of October. Since flu season can last throughout April, getting vaccinated too early can reduce your protection later in the year.
Typical flu season tends to be between December and March. Although peak flu season varies from year to year, the peak of the flu season usually falls between . Within the past 18 years, only three flu seasons have peaked in March: 2005-2006, 2011-2012, and 2015-2016.
How To Book Your Appointment
If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can book an appointment at your GP surgery or a pharmacy that offers it on the NHS.
You may also get an invitation to get the vaccine, but you do not have to wait for this before booking an appointment.
Everyone who is eligible for the free flu vaccine will be able to get it.
GP surgeries and pharmacies get the flu vaccine in batches. If you cannot get an appointment straight away, ask if you can book an appointment for when more vaccines are available.
If you have an appointment for a COVID-19 booster vaccine at a GP surgery or pharmacy, you may also be offered a flu vaccine at the same time.
Do not delay booking your flu vaccine appointment so that you can get both vaccines together. Only some people will be offered both vaccines at the same time.
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/6who Requires Prioritized Care And Why
While it’s imperative that everyone get vaccinated at a wise time, flu, like COVID-19 can be a lurking threat for some specific age groups, including kids and seniors. Since senior age groups, with immunocompromising issues, and pre-existing health problems can be prone to serious illness and hospitalization, these people may need more prioritized care.
Kids may also currently benefit from getting timely flu shots, since they do not have access to COVID shots right now. Protection against the flu will help them avoid infection, and easily differentiate between symptoms as well.
Is The Flu Dangerous For Pregnant People
Yes. Flu can be very dangerous for pregnant people and their babies. The changes in immune, heart and lung function during pregnancy make you more likely to get seriously ill from the flu. If you get the flu while pregnant, it also increases your chance for complications, such as premature labor and delivery, and birth defects.
Getting a flu shot during your pregnancy helps protect both you and your baby. When you get vaccinated, your body makes antibodies that are passed to your baby, which helps protect them during their first few months of life, before they are able to start getting their own annual flu vaccinations.
Flu shots have safely been given to millions of people, including pregnant people, over many years. Numerous studies show that the flu vaccine is safe and effective for pregnant people and their babies.Pregnancy experts strongly recommend that all pregnant people get a flu shot. You can safely get the flu shot during any trimester.
Click here to view/download VYFs handout Flu Vaccination During Pregnancy.Learn more about flu and other vaccines recommended during pregnancy.
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/6why Does Timing Matter When It Comes To The Flu Vaccination
Flu virus is a pathogen which keeps on mutating often. Unlike other vaccines, the flu vaccine has been known to grant favourable immune protection for a limited time, . Hence, getting a version of the vaccine which offers protection against the new variants, and does not cause an immunity dip is essential to minimize chances of infection.
Getting a vaccine dose, in times like this, even if you have had contracted the flu before helps limit the odds of contracting the infection, differentiate easily between COVID and flu and prevent risk of hospitalization as well.
What About My Covid
Right now, third doses of COVID-19 vaccine are authorized only for people with certain immunocompromised conditions. If you qualify, you can get that extra dose and the flu shot on the same day. Once boosters are more broadly authorized, “we’ll be able to co-administer those shots with flu shots as well,” said Lisa Kalajian, a district manager for CVS Health.
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Factors That Influence Flu Shot Effectivity
People At High Risk Of Complications From The Flu
- people with health conditions, such as:
- cancer and other immune compromising conditions
- kidney disease
- neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions
- children up to 18 years of age undergoing treatment for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid
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Where Can You Get The Flu Shot
Heres a list of places where you can get your flu shot for little to no cost:
- Your primary care doctor
- Urgent care facilities, with insurance
- Walmart, with most insurance plans
- Local supermarkets
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What If You Miss The Optimal Window For A Flu Shot
Peak flu season doesn’t occur across the United States at the same time, but Dr. Schaffner says data indicates that February is the most common month for the bulk of peak national influenza transmission. This means you have ample time beyond October for your body to respond to a flu shot, even if flu transmission is picking up in your area. And federal experts still push you to get vaccinated against the flu even in the new year.
“If you miss getting your vaccine in the fall, you can still get vaccinated in January or even later,” Dr. Walkensky adds. “As long as flu viruses are circulating in your community, we continue to recommend a flu vaccine as the best way to protect yourself and your family from flu and its potentially serious complications.”
Most crucially, whether you decide to get the flu shot alongside your COVID-19 vaccine or separately, you shouldn’t delay receiving one over the other even if it’s November or beyond. Remember, current guidance from federal health officials suggests that individuals will need to wait for a third COVID-19 vaccine until about 8 months after their second dose.
“Some Americans will not be eligible for their third dose of COVID-19 vaccine until later in the fall or winter, after October,” she says. “In these cases, people should go ahead and get their flu shot, and then schedule their COVID-19 vaccine at the proper time.”
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How Flu Vaccine Virus Strains Are Selected
Every year, in late February or early March, before that years flu season ends, the FDA, the World Health Organization , the CDC, and other public health experts collaborate on collecting and reviewing data from around the world to identify the flu viruses likely to cause the most illnesses during the next flu season.
Following that process, the FDA convenes its vaccines advisory committee, consisting of outside experts, to discuss the WHO recommendations and to consider which flu viruses are expected to circulate in the U.S. The committee also reviews data about which flu viruses have caused illnesses in the past year, how the viruses are changing, and disease trends for the U.S. The FDA takes that information into account before it selects the virus strains for FDA-licensed manufacturers to include in their vaccines for use in the U.S.
The closer the match between the virus strains chosen for the vaccine and the circulating strains causing disease during flu season, the better the protection that the flu vaccine provides. Although the vaccine and viruses may not be an exact match in some years, that does not mean the vaccine is not benefiting people. Available data show that the vaccine can reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
Understanding Flu And Covid
The flu and COVID-19 are contagious respiratory illnesses, but are caused by different viruses. Because symptoms for both illnesses are similar and can range from no symptoms to severe it can be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
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A Flu Vaccine Is The Best Prevention
Flu seasons and their severity are unpredictable. Annual vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza in people ages 6 months and older.
An annual vaccination to prevent flu is the best way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and spreading it to others. When more people get vaccinated, it is less likely that the flu viruses will spread through a community.
The vaccine typically changes each year and contains the four flu virus strains that are expected to circulate in the U.S. during the upcoming flu season. The effectiveness of influenza vaccines varies depending on several factors, such as the age and health of the recipient, the types of circulating influenza viruses, and the degree of similarity between circulating viruses and those included in the vaccine.
The task of producing a new vaccine for the next flu season starts well before the current season ends. For the FDA, its a year-round initiative.
The flu vaccine will trigger your immune system to produce antibodies to protect against influenza disease it will not make you sick with the flu. It can take about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body, which is an important reason to get your flu vaccine early, before flu activity starts.
I’m Willing To Take My Chances So Why Should I Get The Flu Vaccine
With the pandemic still raging, skipping the flu shot is a much riskier proposition, says Dr. Bernard Camins, an infectious disease physician at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. “You could get the flu and need care but find hospitals overwhelmed because of COVID, or get the flu and get COVID. And especially if you are not vaccinated against the coronavirus, run the risk of your immune system being overwhelmed by two viruses at the same time.” Getting back-to-back infections could result in more serious illness, since the first infection may have already weakened your lungs, says Dr. Priya Nori, an infectious disease specialist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
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Can A Flu Vaccine Give Me The Flu
No. The way that flu vaccines are made, they cannot cause the flu. Flu shots are made from either flu viruses that have been inactivated OR with proteins from a flu virus. .
Nasal spray flu vaccine is made with weakened live flu viruses, and also cannot cause the flu. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they can only cause flu infection at the cooler temperatures found in your nose. These viruses cannot infect your lungs or other warmer areas of your body.
While some people may get mild side effects from the flu shot like a sore arm, a headache, muscle aches or a low fever, those side effects usually begin soon after the shot and only last 1 -2 days. These are actually signs that the vaccine is working and your body is building immunity.
Why Do I Hear Folks Talking About ‘waiting’ To Get Their Flu Shot
As Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, UCSF professor of medicine, told KQED last year, the recommendations medical professionals make about when to get a flu shot are based on the fact that it takes about two weeks after you get vaccinated for antibodies to develop and provide protection against the flu.
There is evidence, Chin-Hong said, that your risk of getting the flu increases every month after your flu shot, due to the antibodies waning over time. But when medical professionals talk about strategically “waiting” to get a flu shot, they’re aiming that advice at those who are at particularly high risk for more serious complications related to the flu. That includes people over 65, those with chronic medical conditions, people who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and kids under 5. Read more about pregnancy and the flu shot.
Delaying inoculations for these populations is based on the idea of getting the shot at a time Chin-Hong called “the sweet spot,” around mid-to-late October. Two weeks later, right around early November, the antibodies should have developed, just as flu season is getting serious.
Think of it as getting the “biggest bang for your buck,” Chin-Hong said. But ultimately, he added, “Don’t hem and haw about when to get it,” because theres a risk you may wind up forgetting to get it at all. Read more about who might consider delaying their flu shot.
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Getting A Flu Vaccine During The Covid
Yes. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your familys health every year. Take recommended precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19 while getting your flu vaccine.
Yes. Wearing a mask and physical distancing can help protect you and others from respiratory viruses, like flu and the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the best way to reduce your risk of flu illness and its potentially serious complications is for everyone 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine each year. By getting a flu vaccine, you may also be protecting people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.
Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time.
Even though both vaccines can be given at the same visit, people should follow the recommended schedule for either vaccine: If you havent gotten your currently recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine, get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can, and ideally get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
While limited data exist on giving COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines, including flu vaccines, experience with giving other vaccines together has shown the way our bodies develop protection and possible side effects are generally similar whether vaccines are given alone or with other vaccines.
If you have concerns about getting both vaccines at the same time, you should speak with a health care provider.