Is It Too Late to Get a Flu Shot?

Flu shot
Photo by hedgehog94 / Shutterstock.com

Even in the midst of a pandemic, life can be incredibly hectic. It’s possible that you have delayed — or even forgotten — plans to get a flu shot.

But is it too late to get vaccinated for this flu season?

In short, the answer is “no.” As long as the flu circulates, vaccination can be beneficial.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

“If you have not been vaccinated by Thanksgiving (or the end of November), it can still be protective to get vaccinated in December or later. Flu is unpredictable and seasons can vary. Seasonal flu disease usually peaks between December and March most years, but disease can occur as late as May.”

In fact, the CDC notes that getting the vaccine later in the flu season — though somewhat risky, since you could get the flu while waiting — might in fact lead to higher levels of immunity during the winter months.

As we reported earlier this year, getting vaccinated is especially important this year. Not only can vaccination protect you — and possibly even save your life — but it can help keep you out of doctor’s offices and hospitals at a time when patients with the coronavirus will need medical care.

Unfortunately, only about half of Americans receive flu immunization each year, the CDC says.

Numerous studies have shown the value of getting flu vaccinations.

One 2018 study found that among adults hospitalized for the flu, patients who received the vaccine prior to getting sick were 59% less likely to end up in the intensive care unit. And among patients who actually ended up in the ICU, vaccinated patients spent an average of four fewer days in the hospital than unvaccinated patients.

Although vaccination lowers your risk of becoming ill with the flu, it doesn’t eliminate the possibility. So, if you get sick, try to inoculate your wallet by reading “5 Ways to Beat the Flu on the Cheap.”

Another great way to save a little money is to get your vaccination at a provider that is offering perks — such as free gift cards — for doing so. Walgreens and Publix are among the providers still offering such goodies as of mid-November.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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