CDC Official Advises When to Get Flu Shot

HYANNIS – An official with the CDC gave insight on what time of year the agency recommends people get their flu shot.

Dr. Chastity Walker, Senior Health Equity Advisor and Health Scientist with the CDC, said the organization recommends flu vaccination should occur by the end of October.

Walker added the CDC still advises people to get vaccinated after that time frame because of how long flu activity can last.

“Flu most often peaks in February, but flu activity can last well into early spring, into May,” she said.

Walker said the CDC saw low levels of vaccination over the last two flu seasons.

“That’s in large part due to focusing attention on the COVID-19 vaccination effort,” she said.

With many COVID-19 restrictions no longer in place, Walker said the CDC expects increased activity among common respiratory diseases in the coming months, including the flu.

“Mask wearing and social distancing, along with other interventions, more broadly stopped the spread of COVID-19, but we also saw a reduction in influenza levels,” Walker said.

Walker and Dr. Willie Underwood of the American Medical Association are both part of the Get My Flu Shot campaign and emphasized the importance of higher risk groups of people getting the shot.

The doctors said people who were at highest risk are those 65 years and older, pregnant people, African American and Hispanic people, and American Indian and Alaska Native.

“It’s not the flu. It’s a dead virus, but it initiates your immune response, so that when you’re in contact with the flu it can fight it off more effectively,” Underwood said in explaining how it works.

Walker said it’s safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster and flu shot at the same time.

“During most seasons, flu causes tens of millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths in the United States, so vaccination really is key to preventing serious complications of flu,” she said.

Head to Get My Flu Shot’s website to learn more.

By Brian Engles, NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.
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