Ask the Expert: Is It Too Late to Get a Flu Shot?

With flu season in full swing, we turned to Dr. Paul Sax.

If you’re not sick right now, chances are you have a friend, coworker, or family member who is—and quite possibly, all of the above.

According to the CDC, 40 states, including Massachusetts, are currently experiencing widespread influenza outbreaks. Sad but true, flu season is officially in full swing.

Wishing you’d gotten your flu shot back in October? You may be able to do more than wish. We asked Paul Sax, clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, if there’s still time.

Ask the Expert: Is it too late to get a flu shot?

Answer: “Definitely not!”

The details:

If you’ve put off getting your shot for, oh, five months, hightail it to your doctor or pharmacy now. While it’s best to get vaccinated during fall, or even late summer, Sax says doing so now is better late than never.

Disease activity is ramping up all around the country and often doesn’t stop until spring,” Sax says. “There’s still plenty of time to benefit, as protection from the vaccine can start within just a couple of weeks of receiving it.”

If you can’t get yourself to the clinic, Sax says to rely on good, old-fashioned hand washing, and to quarantine yourself from sick loved ones for a few days. It’s also prudent to avoid touching your face, especially after coming into contact with any potentially flu-infected surfaces, and to avoid sharing eating utensils.

The bottom line: No more excuses. It’s time to get your shot—and vow to do so earlier next year.


Jamie Ducharme Jamie Ducharme, Contributor jducharme@bostonmagazine.com