Can you get two flu shots in the same season?

Can you get two flu shots in the same season?

key takeaways

  • Most people only need an annual flu shot to stay protected throughout the season.
  • Flu shots don’t really have boosters like other vaccines, but there are some cases where a person may need a second shot in the same flu season. For example, children ages 6 months to 8 years who are getting a flu shot for the first time. They will need two doses of the flu vaccine four weeks apart.
  • Experts predict a more severe cold and flu season this year, so it’s important to get your flu shot as soon as possible.

With more time and A more severe cold and flu season is expected this yearmany wonder if a dose of Influenza vaccine it will be enough to prevent serious illnesses and dangerous respiratory complications.

With much talk about additional doses of vaccines and booster shots for COVID-19, you may be wondering if getting two flu shots would offer more protection, or if it’s even possible to get more than one flu shot in the same season.

Only one flu shot a year is recommended (and enough) for most people, but there are exceptions, for example, children getting a flu shot for the first time.

Dr Roshni Mathewco-medical director of Infection Prevention and Control and Pediatric Physician of Infectious Diseases at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, told Verywell that children ages 6 months to 8 years who “have not previously received a total of two or more doses in their lives need two doses at least four weeks apart.

According to Mathew, “everyone else only needs to get one flu shot for the season.”

How well does a flu shot work?

Each February, the United States works with the World Health Organization (WHO) to determine the influenza vaccine formulation for the upcoming influenza season. The goal is to closely match the same viruses that are currently circulating and causing disease.

All US flu vaccines protect against the type viruses A and B. This includes an influenza A(H1) virus, an influenza A(H3) virus, an influenza B/Yamagata lineage virus, and an influenza B/Victoria lineage virus. Influenza vaccine components are determined based on current international data, including:

  • What flu viruses are currently making people sick
  • how much viruses are spreading
  • The effectiveness of the previous season’s vaccines against the virus
  • The ability of the vaccine to provide cross-protection against multiple types of flu viruses

In a few years, flu shots will work quite well. In others, not so much. The effectiveness of a flu vaccine is affected by a number of factors, including:

  • The age and health status of the person to be vaccinated.
  • Which strain of flu virus is circulating, for example, vaccines tend to offer the most protection against influenza B and influenza A (H1N1) virus and less against influenza A (H3N2) virus

Would two flu shots ever be recommended for adults?

Although children benefit from two flu shots, there is not enough evidence to show that it would be helpful for other groups to receive a second dose.

Some studies in adults with compromised immune systems (such as organ transplant recipients) have looked at whether getting a second flu shot might be helpful, but more research is needed before changing the recommendation.

Currently, the States from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) For adults, “studies have not shown a benefit of receiving more than one dose of the vaccine during the same flu season, even among older people with weakened immune systems.”

What if I get two flu shots by mistake?

If you accidentally get two flu shots by mistake, don’t panic. Getting a double dose is not dangerous, but it is It’s also not going to be any more useful. than get one.

How long does the flu vaccine protect you?

A well-working flu vaccine is key to fighting serious illness flu seasonbut the length of immunity provided by each annual dose is another key aspect.

According to experts, immunity from the flu vaccine declines over time, but it generally provides protection for five to six months. However, this length of time depends on different factors, such as a person’s age and the strain of flu virus that is circulating.

Buddy Creech, MD

We know that vaccine effectiveness declines throughout the season, with some estimating an approximate 5% loss each month after vaccination.

— Buddy Creech, MD

“The duration of the influenza season is, in fact, relevant to our vaccination strategy,” Buddy Creech, MD, MPH, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program, told Verywell. “We know that vaccine effectiveness declines throughout the season, with some estimating an approximate 5% loss each month after vaccination.”

That said, Creech added that these numbers are hard to come by.

“[I] I think it’s fair to say that the longer we go after vaccination, the less immunity we will have.”

Reasons you might want to get a flu shot early

Some people may want to get their annual flu shot a little earlier. For example:

  • Travelers who did not get vaccinated in the previous winter or fall
  • Children younger than 9 years old who needed two doses of the flu vaccine but did not receive their second dose earlier in the season
  • People who may not be able to get vaccinated later in the season
  • people in the third trimester of pregnancy

Despite waning immunity over time, the CDC still says that one flu shot is enough to get the general population through the entire flu season.

“This is part of the reason the CDC suggested that seniors get vaccinated in October instead of being first in line to get them in July or August,” Creech said. “We don’t fully understand the characteristics of decreased immunity in children, but it is clear that vaccinating in the fall protects children throughout the influenza season, even as it extends into late spring.”

Experts suggest that people get their annual flu shot in September or at least in late October. The flu shot is offered whenever the flu virus is circulating in the community, but flu season in the US tends to peak in January and then tapers off in the spring.

What flu shot should you get?

The CDC recommends that everyone older than 6 months get a flu shot. the flu shots for the season they are available at vendor offices, pharmacies and even grocery stores. Yes you are over 65 years oldthe CDC recommends that you receive one of three high-dose vaccines:

  • Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent Vaccine
  • Flublok Quadrivalent Recombinant Flu Vaccine
  • Fluad tetravalent adjuvanted influenza vaccine

While you most likely only need to get a flu shot per flu season, time matters. Remember that immunity takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccine.

what this means to you

Annual flu shots are recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. The only group that needs more than one flu shot per season (two doses spaced four weeks apart) is children ages 6 months to 8 years who have never had a flu shot before.

People over the age of 65 should get one of the three available high-dose flu shots to ensure they get the best protection. Getting a flu shot in the months of September and October helps ensure you have protection during peak flu season into spring.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we check facts and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.


By Amy Isler, RN, MSN, CSN

Amy Isler, RN, MSN, CSN, is a Registered Nurse with over six years of patient experience. She is a licensed school nurse in California.

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