Is It Too Late to Get the Flu Shot?

February 3, 2021

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Jerry Zuckerman, M.D. contributes to topics such as Infection Control.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults and children older than 6 months in age should get flu shots annually. The timing is important. Experts recommend getting vaccinated around late October, because it should offer you protection for the entire flu season.

However, it’s important to know that it is not too late to get a flu shot now.

Cases of the flu typically peak between December and February, but the influenza virus spreads differently every year, usually beginning in November, sometimes going as late as April or May. Getting a flu shot now will offer you protection for the remainder of the flu season.

“Although we are seeing historically low numbers of the flu this year, likely due to masking, social distancing and other COVID preventative measures, it’s still critical to get your flu shot,” says Jerry Zuckerman, M.D., vice president of infection prevention and control at Hackensack Meridian Health. “The flu is still actively out there, and you want to do everything you can to protect yourself against the virus, especially now, in the middle of a pandemic.”

Where to get a flu shot

You can get a flu shot at several locations, including:

  • your doctor’s office
  • a walk-in clinic
  • at work (employers may be less likely to offer this during the pandemic)
  • a local flu shot clinic

COVID-19 and Flu Vaccine

“The same protective benefits you see from the flu vaccine are available in the newly available COVID-19 vaccine, and we strongly encourage you to get both,” says Dr. Zuckerman. “Timing is important, though.”

If you’re scheduling either vaccine appointment, you be sure to space them at least 14 days apart. “The recommendation to space them apart is because we simply don’t know yet if getting the COVID vaccine with other vaccines impacts the safety or efficacy.”

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The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.