Health Quiz: When Should I Get the Flu Shot?

When is the best time to get the flu shot?

  1. When First Available (August)
  2. After Labor Day
  3. After Halloween
  4. After Christmas

Answer: After Halloween

While most people who get the flu recover, it is a serious disease responsible for many deaths each year, particularly among older adults and young children.

“If you’re over 65, don’t get the flu vaccine in September. Or August. It’s a marketing scheme,” said Laura Haynes, an immunologist at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging.

That’s because a combination of factors makes it more difficult for the immune systems of people older than age 65 to respond to the vaccination in the first place. And its protective effects may wear off faster for this age group than it does for young people.

Federal health officials say it’s better to get the shot whenever you can. An early flu shot is better than no flu shot at all. But the science is mixed when it comes to how long a flu shot promoted and given during the waning days of summer will provide optimal protection, especially because flu season generally peaks in mid-winter or beyond.

Read the in-depth article: The Ads Say ‘Get Your Flu Shot Today,’ But It May Be Wiser To Wait