Do you need a flu shot this year? Yes.

Flu shots provide protection for about six months

Getting the flu shot earlier in the season provides some protection through the spring and since the vaccine takes a couple weeks to build up antibodies, it’s a good idea to get it before the virus is spreading.

Getting vaccinated may be even more important, since few of us built up any natural immunity last season while protecting ourselves against  COVID-19.

With far less social distancing, mask-wearing and virtual work and school this past year, the stage may be set for a very serious season for viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and the flu.

Getting the flu vaccine provides about 60% protection for your body, meaning it will decrease your chance of getting severely sick and decrease chance of needing medical treatment for the flu. The vaccine helps give your body information on how to fight off the infection. Getting a flu vaccine also helps protect the people around you.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you get your flu shot by the end of October each year. But if you missed that time frame, it’s not too late.

Don’t put it off if you’re already at your health care provider’s office or pharmacy.

The flu vaccine provides its protection for about six months, according to Monalisa M. Tailor, M.D., an internal medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates – Barret.

“The vaccine takes about two weeks to build up the antibodies in your system, so you don’t want to delay it too far into the season,” Dr. Tailor said.

Protect Yourself and Those Close to You

The flu hasn’t gone away. We may have escaped it last year while avoiding the coronavirus. Getting your flu shot provides some protection for about six months.

Get a Flu Shot

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a great number of patients to seek care in emergency rooms and immediate care centers nationwide. Getting the flu shot doesn’t mean you won’t catch the flu, but it will reduce your chance of having symptoms that land you in a health care provider’s office.

Since it is possible to catch flu and COVID-19 simultaneously, you also want to prevent overwhelming your immune system by fighting two viruses at the same time.

While the viruses that cause the flu each year tend to mutate and change through the season from the time the vaccine is developed, the flu vaccine typically reduces the risk of needing medical care for flu by about 40% to 60%.

The COVID-19 vaccines provide more than 90% protection against serious illness.

If you are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine or a booster shot, it’s safe to get both at once and in separate arms if possible, according to the CDC.


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