When Should I Get My Family’s Flu Shots?

As the race for a coronavirus vaccine continues, parents are reminded to schedule flu shots for their families before the winter season begins.

“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during 2020-2021 to protect yourself and the people around you from flu,” warns the CDC, “and to help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

While the overall effectiveness of the flu vaccine (ranging from as high as 60% to as low as 19% in the last decade) is beyond your control, choosing the best time to get your flu vaccine is one way you can make a difference for you and your family. That ideal window is starting now in late September, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop and provide protection against the flu.

“It’s recommended that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October,” the CDC reports. “However, getting vaccinated early (for example, in July or August) is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults.”

Almost everyone should receive the flu shot, but the priority group for vaccinations includes the following people:

- Children from 6 months through their 5th birthday
- Caregivers of children under 5
- Pregnant women
- Adults over 50
- People with extreme obesity

Although it may seem depressing to think about the flu season in a year that’s been defined by the coronavirus, there is some good news. The typical influenza season in the Southern Hemisphere, which runs from June through August, has had very low influenza activity this year.

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