NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As kids get ready to head back to school soon, it also means that flu season is not too far off.
But is it too soon to get vaccinated? CBS2’s Tara Jakeway spoke to some experts on Wednesday.
Though fall has not yet arrived, the vaccine for the season’s influenza virus has.
“We just got it yesterday, so I’m going to be the first one to have it in my practice,” general practitioner Dr. Albert Levy said.
Levy said manufacturers have started sending out their 2019-20 vaccine, and if your health care provider has it, he wants to know what you’re waiting for.
“Right away, why not? Better to take it now than in the middle of winter, that’s for sure,” Levy said.
Levy’s patients that are 6 months and older are told to get the shot every year as early as possible. He said it will last the full season.
“If you can, do it. Why not? Levy said.
He said the people that wait too long to get the flu shot may get exposed to the virus. They’re the ones behind that pesky rumor that getting the flu shot actually gives people the flu.
“They don’t feel well and they say, you know what? I’m going to get the flu shot. But that’s already the beginning of the flu symptoms they have,” Levy said.
C.O. Bigelow pharmacist Bruce Schreiber said the official flu season kicks off in October.
When asked if it’s too early to get the flu shot,” Schreiber said, “The immediate answer is no.”
But he’ll have the vaccine in stock on Friday.
“We are planning to have between 400 and 500 vaccinations,” he said.
And those are dished out on a first come, first serve basis. So those that wait are taking a risk. They have run out of the vaccine in past years, Jakeway reported.
“If we can spread it out instead of getting inundated when there’s the hysteria of Oh my God, it’s flu time. It will be better for us,” Schreiber said.
No matter when you decide to get the vaccine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just recommends that you do, not only to protect yourself but those around you.
According to the CDC, each year about 8 percent of the U.S. population gets the influenza virus. The vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing it varies from year to year.