CDC reveals best time to get flu shot
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the exact start of the flu season is uncertain. That’s why it’s best to get vaccinated before it spreads. They recommend that people aged 6 months and over get vaccinated by September or at least before the end of October.
In the United States, the flu often begins to circulate in October and peaks between december and february. Vaccines do not protect immediately. After being vaccinated, the body needs about two weeks to develop immunity against the flu.
The level of protection from the flu vaccine decreases over time
The CDC says influenza activity in the United States can sometimes last until may. Therefore, it is possible to get vaccinated later in the season if the vaccine has not been done before the end of October. However, the influenza activity observed in the southern hemisphere began earlier this year. If we refer to this, the flu season could also start earlier in the United States.
Moreover, some American states see their flu activity on the rise. Texas and Georgia have reported moderate levels of influenza activity, while that of the District of Columbia is very high. According to a 2017 study, published in the journal Clinical Infections Diseases, the effect of the flu vaccine drops by about 6-11% per month. However, it still provides some level of protection for five to six months after vaccination.
Influenza vaccine and Covid-19 booster can be given at the same time
Because of this reduced effect of the vaccine, the CDC recommends that adults not getting vaccinated in July or August. However, women who are in the third trimester of their pregnancy have the option of getting vaccinated in July or August. They can thus transmit protective antibodies to their baby after birth.
According to the CDC, children aged 6 months to 8 years need two doses, inject at four week intervals. These children should receive their first flu vaccine as soon as it is available, even in July or August. Thus, they can receive the second vaccine before the end of October.
The bivalent Covid-19 booster vaccine is also offers to the general public this fall. It is recommended for people aged 12 and over. According to the CDC, it is safe to get both vaccines at the same time. However, side effects may occur, such as fatigue and muscle aches. These effects are still mild, and dissipate quickly.