Do You Still Need Your Flu Vaccine Late in Flu Season?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you get a flu shot as soon as the flu vaccine becomes available. Getting your flu shot as early as possible provides the best protection for you and for those around you. Ideally, you should get the flu vaccine before November before flu season is in full swing. However, you can still benefit from flu vaccine even late in the flu season.

We're not out of flu season yet; consider getting a flu shot if you haven't gotten yours for the current flu season. Click To Tweet

When is flu season?

Flu season doesn’t just refer to the months when you can get sick with the flu; influenza viruses are active year-round in the United States. Instead, flu season refers to the period of time that influenza is most active, typically the fall and winter. Flu seasons vary, but generally flu activity increases in October and is the most active from December to February. Flu activity is by far the highest during the month of February.

Although flu season typically peaks around February, flu illness is common in March and flu activity can persist until May. Making it late into the flu season without a flu shot and without getting sick doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

You can keep up with current flu activity across the U.S. With several weeks of flu activity on the horizon, you can benefit from flu vaccine even now.

Why get a flu shot?

  • Influenza viruses change and flu viruses that are active change with each flu season. The flu shot that protected you last year won’t protect you for the next year.
  • Flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent flu illness; flu vaccine can reduce the risk for flu illness by 40-60%.
  • Vaccinating against the flu also helps keep your community healthy. Maybe you can bounce back from the flu after a few days, but young children and older adults are more susceptible to illness from the flu.
  • Flu vaccine reduces the effects of flu illness. It’s possible to get the flu even if you get a flu shot. However, flu vaccine reduces the severity of your illness if you do get sick.
  • Influenza virus results in hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of flu-related deaths each year. Getting a dose of flu vaccine also helps reduce hospitalizations and flu-related death. 

Almost everyone over 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine each flu season. You can get your flu shot in Northwest Arkansas at several MANA locations.