Do I Really Need a Flu Shot Every Year? Yes! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that nearly everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated against the flu each year. Why is an annual flu shot needed? It’s because the flu vaccine is different than other vaccines that require only one dose or a booster shot. The flu vaccine is reformulated each year to protect against the strains of the flu thought to be most common that year, which is why it’s an annual shot.
Those at High Risk for Flu
- Older adults
- Pregnant women
- Those with compromised immune systems
Is It Too Early to Get My Shot?Probably not. The CDC recommends getting your flu shot each year by the end of October. But it’s usually OK to get yours a little earlier. There is an exception, though—experts recommend that those at highest risk wait until at least late September before getting the flu shot to ensure it provides protection through the whole season. This is especially important this year, since the flu season will overlap with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other Ways to Prevent the Flu
- Wear a mask as recommended to limit the spread of COVID-19, which will also lower your risk of the flu.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.
- Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, like doorknobs and your phone, often.
- Steer clear of anyone who may be sick.