What’s the best time of year for a flu shot?

On call

Published: August, 2017

Image: © Ildo Frazao/Thinkstock

Q. I always get an annual flu shot, but should I get it closer to the official beginning of flu season?

A. In simplest terms, the best time to get a flu shot is anytime you can. Waiting for the "perfect" time could cause you to procrastinate and miss the benefit of a yearly vaccination against the flu, which prevents 50% to 60% of the influenza infections in a typical season. But if you want to time it so it's closer to the typical flu season, October is ideal.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »