Flu shot 101: all your questions answered
Now is the perfect time to schedule a trip to CityMD and get caught up on your vaccines. Flu season is here — and the virus is spreading in our area.
Khushbu Taker-Desai, PharmD, BCACP, who specializes in ambulatory clinical pharmacy services at Summit Health, explains everything you need to know about this year’s flu vaccine. Find out about the best time to get vaccinated each year and how getting the shot can reduce the severity of your symptoms if you do get the flu.
Q. Is it too late to be vaccinated after October?
A. No. Vaccination will still provide immunity as long as flu viruses are circulating. The seasonal flu generally peaks between December and March, but it can still be prevalent as late as May.
Q. Is there such a thing as getting the flu shot too early? What month is ideal?
A. If you only need one dose, September and October are generally the best months to be vaccinated against the flu. Children who need more than one dose and pregnant women in their third trimester can consider getting vaccinated in the earlier months of July and August.
Q. Last year I had a flu shot and still got the flu. Why should I get it this year? Does it really make your case milder?
A. It is possible that last year you were exposed to the flu virus right before you were vaccinated, or you were exposed to a flu virus that was very different from the viruses in the flu vaccine you received. How well a flu vaccine works depends on the match between the viruses chosen to make the vaccine and those that are spreading and causing the illness for the season. Regardless of this, you should receive the vaccine every year as vaccination reduces the severity of the illness, including flu-related doctor visits, flu-related hospitalization, ICU admission, and worsening of your chronic conditions such as COPD, asthma, and diabetes. Additionally, getting vaccinated yourself may also protect the people around you who are more likely to have serious flu illness such as babies, young children, older adults, and those with chronic medical conditions.
Q. Can I get my flu shot and COVID booster at the same time? Or do I need to spread them out?
A. Seasonal flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines including the booster shot can be administered at the same time. Studies have found similar immune responses whether these vaccines are administered separately or at the same time.
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