Here’s When to Get Your Flu Shot

A peron holds a needle and syringe to someone's pair arm.

Even if you don’t get a flu shot every year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic this is a great year to schedule one. A when should you book your appointment or head into your local pharmacy?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, getting the flu shot, period, is better than not getting it at all—but there is an optimum time to get it to align the protective window it provides with the actual flu season. While some individuals get a full year boost out of a flu shot, for some people the immunity boost is as short as 4-6 months.

What’s an ideal time? September and October are the prime months to get your flu shot. It takes around two weeks for antibodies to develop, so you might not want to wait until the end of October, either. And, ultimately, while it’s awesome to time your flu shot if you can do so, getting the shot is more important than nailing the timing perfectly.

It’s especially important to get your shot this year because of COVID-19. Health interviewed infectious disease expert, Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, MD who explained, “As flu and COVID-19 compete for the same hospital resources, personal protective equipment, and diagnostic reagents, it is important to try and minimize the impact of the flu. Decreasing the burden of influenza is one way to make sure we have enough room for COVID-19 cases.”

Not sure where to get your flu shot? You can contact your doctor’s office, check with a local pharmacy chain such as CVS (most national chains offer flu shots), or use the flu shot search function at VaccineFinder.org to find locations near you.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »

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