Considering the mounting scientific evidence on early flu vaccination, seeing placards at Rite Aid urging “Get Your Flu Shot Now,” in late August, like I have, can be very perplexing.
Studies on early flu vaccination show a steady decline in vaccine efficacy months after vaccination. The more recent of these studies, published by the CDC (https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciw816), concludes: “We observed decreasing influenza vaccine protection with increasing time since vaccination across influenza types/subtypes.” That is, the protection offered by the flu shot starts steadily diminishing after injection, which is why receiving one late August or even September is never wise.
The CDC recommends receiving a flu shot beginning October to November.
Please receive a flu shot at the proper time and please do not rely on a corporate chain for medical information. Flu vaccinations start early only to avoid the large crowds that would gather if everyone was vaccinated at the right time. The decision to vaccinate early is not based on scientific evidence.
I normally get my flu shot in early October. By doing so, I feel confident that my antibodies will have built up by the time flu season starts (the vaccine takes 2 weeks to reach full effectiveness), and that I will be adequately protected throughout the season. This protects not just myself, but also all of the patients I come in contact with.