When does the flu vaccine get updated, and how do I know?
August 30, 2012 9:17 AM   Subscribe

How do I know when the "new" flu shots come out? CDC and similar web sites say that I should get my flu shot "as soon as they become available", but most drugstores now offer the flu shot year-round.

Since I already have last year's, how do I know when to get this year's?
posted by dmd to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I was at the dr. this morning and she said they're expecting to get theirs towards the end of September. The CDC FAQ site says:

When to get vaccinated against seasonal flu

Yearly flu vaccination should begin in September, or as soon as vaccine is available, and continue throughout the flu season which can last as late as May. This is because the timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu season can begin early as October, most of the time seasonal flu activity peaks in January, February or later.

posted by brilliantine at 9:24 AM on August 30, 2012

Ask them if it's this years, with:
Strains to be covered in the 2012-2013 vaccine are the A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus, the A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus and the B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus. The H1N1 virus was also included in last year’s vaccine, but other two were not.
Source: Yahoo News

My doc says Early Oct for our area.
posted by tilde at 9:26 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

My healthcare provider's newsletter keeps me up-to-date on new flu shots (which are apparently coming out and the end of September), but I can also find this information on my city's Heath Department website and the local university's clinic's website/Facebook/Twitter.
posted by rhiannonstone at 10:50 AM on August 30, 2012

This isn't "as soon as they become available," but I always go in the couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. The new shot is always out by then and it's easy to remember as part of my holiday preparations, "Oh, I gotta get a flu shot!" And then I've got it before the part of the year where other people are sneezing on you at parties.

My county health department also posts about it online, and usually the sign outside their office (which I pass every couple of weeks running errands) says "NEW FLU SHOTS" when the new flu shots are available in the county. I can also contact them to ask about locations with shots in stock, and eligibility in years when supply is tight. That might be the best route for the most complete information.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:47 PM on August 30, 2012

You can check when this year's vaccine is available in your area at flu.gov, assuming you are in the US. I got my 2012-2013 vaccine yesterday at a drugstore, even though my doctor does not have it in yet. The pediatrician does have it. The stuff from the state apparently goes to pediatricians, then OBs, and then regular dr offices, but the stores buy it from other sources, so they can get it in right away. It was released in mid-August, fwiw.
posted by freezer cake at 9:47 AM on August 31, 2012

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