When to get your flu shot, or influenza vaccine, each year can be confusing. Pharmacies start marketing the vaccine as soon as they receive it, which can be early August. Since it usually takes around two weeks for a person to achieve the immunity given from the vaccine, earlier would seem better, especially when a person interacts in a school setting that is a hotbed for germs. But flu season doesn’t hit its peak until February, and the vaccine’s immunity won’t last the entire year. So, when is the right time?

As with most things, it depends. But for the general population, Andrew Pekosz, PhD, professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, recommends October. Last week, Consumer Reports published an article discussing the complexities of the timing and variations in the flu season and vaccination.

Johns Hopkins Students have easy access to the flu shot each fall as there are several clinics to receive the vaccine on the East Baltimore campus (where the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is located) as part of the influenza vaccination flu campaign.