When should you get your flu shot?

Flu season typically begins in late fall and peaks in the winter. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting your vaccine by the end of October. However, vaccination can still be beneficial after New Year’s or even later.

While people across the country are gearing up for the inevitable flu season, you might wonder if you’re getting the flu vaccine at the best time.

“It can take about two weeks to develop protection from the flu vaccine,” says Laurel Mode, infection preventionist at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. “So, it is good to plan your vaccine at least two weeks before you attend a family gathering with lots of people in close quarters, visit someone with an infant or otherwise interact with individuals who might be at high risk for flu.”

If you are concerned about getting your vaccine too soon, the flu vaccine can decrease in effectiveness after six months, according to the CDC, so getting a vaccine now should cover you well past the peak of the season.

“It’s best to be immunized before the virus becomes prevalent in an area,” Mode says. “The Midwest is currently showing minimal flu activity so it’s a great time to become vaccinated.”

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