WASHINGTON — The Verify team works with vetted experts to bring you the facts...and in this case, to help you make educated decisions for yourself and your family.
You’ve probably noticed signs posted at pharmacies and grocery stores let you know you can get a flu shot now. But should you?
Is there a time that’s best to get the vaccine?
ANSWER: Yes, during the month of October.
Three practicing physicians: Dr.Stuart Ray, LaTasha Perkins and Linda Fu
And the Immunization Action Coalition or I-A-C, an educational non-profit that works with the CDC.
Dr. Stuart Ray, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins, says October is your best bet to get the flu shot. According to Ray, that's when flu season really starts to pick up.
"The most important thing is to get it when it's available. Certainly, the best time is probably before the end of October”
Our other experts agree, like family medicine doctor LaTasha Perkins and pediatrician doctor Linda Fu.
"So it's best to get it early enough so that you're protected for the whole season," Fu advocates. "Not too early such that it won't last through the full season. What we recommend is to get your kids vaccinated in September of October."
“October is going to be the optimum month to get it," Perkins agreed.
Our researchers also checked that advice against charts on the CDC website.
Those charts show when flu cases peaked for different age ranges last season, with cases spiking towards the end of January and sharply declining at the end of March for every age group.
The CDC warns the peak varies year to year, but according to these guidelines released in August, the agency agrees that October is the best month to get vaccinated.
“You want to make sure that your immunity lasts the entire season," Ray added.
The IAC says immunity lasts at least six months, so getting a vaccination in July or August may be too early.
Experts say while October is ideal, it’s never too late, even if you’ve already had the flu. Regardless, having the shot will be protective against getting that other strain later in the season.
"Don't let the end of October come and you haven't gotten the shot," Ray said. "If you do miss the October deadline date is again never too late to get it. "
So we can Verify that yes, there is a recommended time to get the flu shot to offer the best protection: during the month of October.