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When should I get my flu shot this year? New CDC Guidelines for Over-65s

Even as COVID-19 continues to circulate, the flu is in the background.

The flu season in the US usually starts in October, before peaking between December and February and extending into May. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it takes about two weeks after vaccination for flu antibodies to develop in the body, so timing plays a role when planning your flu vaccine.

Most people only need one dose of flu vaccine for the season, making September and October a good time to get vaccinated. Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October, according to CDC.

Some more guidelines from CDC:

  • Most adults, especially those 65 and older, and pregnant people in the first or second trimester should generally not get vaccinated early (in July or August) because protection can diminish over time. However, you should consider an early vaccination if you know you will not be able to come back for a vaccination.
  • Some children need two doses of the flu vaccine. For those children, it is recommended to get the first dose as soon as the vaccine is available, as the second dose should be given at least four weeks later. Vaccination in July and August can also be considered for children who only need one dose.
  • Vaccination in July and August may also be considered for people who are in their third trimester of pregnancy during those months, as it can help protect their babies during the first few months after birth (when they are too young to be vaccinated). ).

New guidance for seniors

The CDC does not recommend a specific flu vaccine for people under age 65. It does have vaccines of choice for those 65 and older, which is a new guideline this year.

“For people 65 years and older, there are three flu vaccines that are recommended preferably over the standard dose, non-adjuvanted flu vaccines. These are Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent Vaccine, Flublok Quadrivalent Recombinant Influenza Vaccine and Fluad Quadrivalent Adjuvanted Influenza Vaccine,” the CDC said.

If those aren’t available, the CDC recommends getting any vaccine available.

More information about these recommendations can be found here.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every year, with a few rare exceptions. You can see more guidelines on this.


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