How Long Can You Wait to Get a Flu Vaccination?

The CDC estimates that since 2010 that the number of yearly hospitalizations due to influenza have ranged from 140,000 to 710,000. Each year, a flu vaccination is researched and developed several months ahead of the influenza season so that they can try to protect against the most commonly spread strains of the flu. But once the flu vaccination has been released to the public, how long can you wait to get the flu shot? Is there a certain time when it’s too late?

How the Flu Vaccine Works

You know that you’re supposed to get a flu shot every year, but you may not have stopped to think about how it’s developed or what it is exactly that it protects you from. Essentially every year medical researchers investigate which strains will be the most common during the flu season.

The flu vaccination protects against two types of flu viruses, which are influenza A and influenza B.

When the Flu Vaccine Will Start to Work in Your Body

Once you receive the flu vaccination, it will start to protect your body after two weeks. (It takes this long to develop antibodies to deflect the flu.)

To protect yourself during this vulnerable two-week period, you should practice good hygiene, avoid touching your nose or mouth, and avoid any large crowds if the flu is going around in your city.

How Long Does the Flu Shot Protect You?

We know that we are supposed to get the flu shot each year, but how long does it actually protect you? The flu shot should protect you throughout the entirety of the flu season, which lasts from roughly September to March. If you received a flu shot last year it doesn’t mean that you will be protected through flu season this year—as flu viruses are constantly evolving and changing.

When Is the Ideal Time to Get the Flu Vaccination?

Although the flu vaccination is typically delivered to healthcare providers starting in August, it might be best to wait a little bit to receive the shot. Some experts say that receiving the flu shot too early could put you at risk for not being protected when flu season lasts until February or March.

It’s best to wait to get the flu vaccine until October—but not to get the shot any later than the end of October when the flu activity really starts to pick up.

North Star Medical Urgent Care in Houston is here for you all flu season to administer flu vaccinations and care for you in case you get the flu. You can see the specialist you need and get both preventative care and treatment in one place. Call to schedule an appointment today at 281-922-7377!


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as an advice for any individual case or situation.