My son recently had his 15-month well-check visit to make sure he was growing well, hitting milestones, and up-to-date on his vaccines. We were prepared for the follow-up DTaP vaccine this appointment, but when the pediatrician completed her exam, she asked us if we wanted to go ahead and give our son the flu vaccine for this year. My husband and I were a little shocked — since it was early September after all — and then wondered when the best time to get the flu shot in 2019 was. Is there a way to get it too early? What about too late? When will it be the most effective? We didn't even realize it had already been released.
On July 15, GSK announced in a press release that the pharmaceutical company had begun shipping the 2019/2020 influenza vaccine to healthcare providers, according to biospace.com. So it's been available for a bit. My son’s pediatrician said for children, the earlier the better is usually par for the course when it comes for toddlers to get their flu shot — and the CDC recommends children 6 months old and older receive the vaccine.
Dr. Gina Posner, pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, agrees that the earlier the better is the way to go when receiving your flu shot. "The problem is that we never know when the flu season will really ramp up, therefore it is best to get the flu vaccine when it comes out — this year we are already seeing the flu," she tells Romper.
As far as when adults and kids should get the flu shot, Posner says both adults and children both should get it as soon as possible and potentially at the same time. In fact, her own family has a "flu shot day." This is ironically what my family did last year at one of my son's wellness appointments. After he received his, they asked my husband and I if we wanted one while we were there, so we got vaccinated, too.
Posner adds that it's never too late to get the flu shot, even if you miss the beginning of the season. "I recommend getting it before the flu season typically starts (November), but even if I have a parent bring their child in March and want it, I always recommend getting it because at least you will be protected for the rest of the season." It's also never too early, according to Posner. "Likely you can’t get it too early, but immunity does wane with time. The problem is that since we don’t know when the flu is going to really hit, you want to get it before it hits rather than after," she explains.
So the sooner you and your children get your flu shot this year, the better. There is no too early or too late when it comes to protecting yourself from the flu. The vaccine has already been released, so ask your healthcare providers if they have it available for you to take and knock it out now.