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When should you get your flu shot? Doctors say wait if you can

The effectiveness of the flu shot wanes by the month, so if you get it now and the flu comes around in January, your vaccine will offer less protection.

MINNEAPOLIS — We're now approaching winter, and as we do, we get that much closer to flu season.

While the word is out to get your flu shot now, one of the nation's leaders in infectious diseases, Dr. Michael Osterholm,  says you might want to wait a while if you can.

Osterholm says if right now is the only time you are able to get the flu shot, then absolutely go ahead and get it, but if you do have the ability to wait, that's his suggestion.

The effectiveness of the flu shot wanes by the month, so if you get it now and the flu comes fast and furious in January, your shot will be way less effective at protecting you.

"For many of us, however, who work in the influenza area, you know we are uncomfortable vaccinating people this early in the season because we do know protection from the flu virus vaccine wears off over time, as much as 18% per month," Osterholm said. "So if we were to see the flu season emerge in January and February, those vaccinated in September may only have a limited amount of protection left. If possible, we really like to see people getting a flu shot in October or early November if there is no flu activity in the community."

Waiting a few months gives you a better shot — with the shot — of fighting that flu if it comes around. 

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