When is the Best Time of Year to Get a Flu Shot?

It is officially flu season in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “In the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter months. Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May.” So, when is the best time to get vaccinated?

Consult Your Doctor to Decide When to Get the Flu Shot

As it turns out, the answer depends on who you talk to; and, for this reason, it is best to consult with your doctor if you have questions about when (or if) it makes sense for you to get immunized. For example, while a doctor quoted in a recent Women’s Health article states that, “The best time to get your flu vaccination is as soon as it’s available,” the CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have recently warned that it may be possible for some individuals to get the flu shot too early:

“Vaccinating early – for example, in July or August – may lead to reduced protection against influenza later in the season, particularly among older adults.”

However, the CDC recommends that most people try to get vaccinated against the flu by no later than October 31; and, if you wait until people around you start getting the flu, it may be too late. This is because it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to take effect from the date of immunization.

Timing Isn’t Everything: Risk Factors for Complications from the Flu Shot

Before deciding when to get the flu shot, some people need to determine whether they should get vaccinated at all. Although the CDC recommends most vaccinations (including the flu shot) for most people, there are certain risk factors that make it unsafe for some people to get vaccinated. For example, potential risk factors associated with the annual flu shot include:

  • An allergic reaction after a previous dose of influenza vaccine;
  • A serious, potentially life-threatening allergy;
  • A prior diagnosis of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), whether or not resulting from a flu shot;
  • Any moderate or severe illness (the CDC generally recommends waiting until you recover to get vaccinated); and,
  • Pregnancy or a weakened immune system (for the live influenza vaccine only).

Once again, these are only potential risk factors, and anyone who has questions or concerns about the flu shot should consult with their physician. When getting the flu shot, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of potential complications as well, including GBS and shoulder injuries related to vaccine administration (SIRVA).

Speak with National Vaccine Attorney Leah V. Durant

Individuals who are diagnosed with GBS, SIRVA and other flu shot-related injuries and illnesses will often be eligible to recover their losses through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). If you have received a diagnosis, we encourage you to call 202-800-1711 or contact us online for a complimentary initial consultation.

Leah Durant Bio

Experienced litigation attorney Leah Durant focuses on representing clients in complex vaccine litigation matters. Leah Durant is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC, a litigation firm based in Washington, DC. Leah Durant and her staff represent clients and their families who suffer from vaccine-related injuries, adverse vaccine reactions and vaccine-related deaths. The Law Offices of Leah V. Durant, PLLC is dedicated to assisting individuals in recovering the highest level of compensation as quickly and efficiently as possible. To learn more, contact vaccine attorney Leah Durant today.

Categories: Flu Vaccine

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