Health and Wellness - Hold off on your flu vaccine

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Public Health

As your Dallas County Public Health staff have been giving vaccinations to children at the start of this school year, some families have inquired about getting flu shots as well. The months of August and September are generally too early to receive an immunization against the flu. Here’s why.

According to records kept by the Iowa Department of Public Health, during 75% of the influenza seasons from 1982 until this past winter, the peak outbreaks of flu didn’t happen until January or later. Because your vaccine protection against the flu gradually decreases month after month, getting your vaccine too early could mean that your immunity might be too weak to protect you by the time the flu hits our area in January or February (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/rr/rr6703a1.htm?s_cid=rr6703a1_e).

Exactly when influenza season will strike Dallas County is unpredictable. While it’s important to be immunized before the flu germs are here, it’s also important to be protected throughout the whole season, which often includes March.

So the bottom line is, schedule an appointment with your regular clinic to get a flu shot sometime in October or November. Flu shots are also available at that time at other locations, such as pharmacies and through workplaces.