RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — While signs advertising “flu shots available now” have already popped up throughout central Virginia, health professionals are advising people to wait longer before getting the vaccine.
James Bailey gets his flu shot every season like clockwork.
“Same time every year,” he said.
Marie Hunter is always one step ahead of the game.
“I get mine in the summer,” she said.
Hunter said she got her shot last month after seeing a sign.
“I saw the sign at the drug store that said ‘have you gotten your flu shot?'”
Though many pharmacies in the area have the flu shot ready, the CDC says getting it now may not be in your best interest.
“You gotta use your own common sense you know,” Bailey said.
The vaccine typically wears off about six months after you get it.
“I know the shot is available now, but for best protection, the end of October is kind of the best time to shoot for,” Em Stephens, a respiratory disease coordinator at the Virginia Department of Health said.
This means if you’re vaccinated now, it could wear off in February.
“You want to make sure that you’re protected throughout the season, which will last through about March or April,” Stephens said.
So what happens to those who’ve already been vaccinated?
“[You should be] washing your hands really well or covering your cough if you do get sick,” the expert said. “Later in the season, take extra precautions to protect yourself.”