When is the best time to get a flu shot?

From CBS News:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Vaccination is especially important for those at high risk of serious complications from the flu, including children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and people with chronic medical conditions.  So when is the ideal time to get vaccinated? Guidance from the CDC states that people should get a flu vaccine by the end of October.   “We recommend getting your shot by the end of October because it is best to get a flu shot before flu begins to spread in your community,” Dr. Claire Bocchini, an infectious disease specialist at Texas Children’s Hospital, told CBS News. “In the United States, flu can start to spread as early as October. It takes about two weeks after the shot for your body to make antibodies that protect you against the flu.”  But with pharmacies already advertising flu shots now, some may wonder if it’s ever too early to get a flu shot. It’s possible, says Dr. Michael Osterholm, a professor at the University of Minnesota and former state epidemiologist.”From the time you get the flu shot, every month after that the actual protection is reduced over time,” Osterholm told CBS Minnesota. He says the effectiveness drops off by about 15 to 20 percent per month, and he recommends waiting until October to get a shot. Flu season typically peaks between December and February, but it can last into the spring. Children aged 6 months through 8 years who require two doses should receive their first dose as soon as possible after the shot becomes available, to allow the second dose to be received by the end of October.  while it’s not ideal to wait past the end of October, getting vaccinated after that, even into January or later, can still be beneficial.

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