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February 04, 2019

Does doubling up on flu shots provide more protection?

Illness Adult Health
sick unsplash Brittany Colette/Unsplash

With flu season in full swing, most people are working hard to keep the virus at arm’s length.

While eating antioxidant-rich foods, washing your hands religiously and getting plenty of sleep are some great methods for staying healthy, most medical professionals say getting a flu shot is your best bet. If you got your flu shot back in the fall when experts recommend getting vaccinated, you might find yourself wondering: Should I get a second flu shot?

While this thought is completely reasonable — the more, the merrier, right? — "a second dose is recommended only for kids ages 6 months through 8 years who have never been vaccinated before or only had one shot in the past," Dr. Elizabeth Barnett, professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, told Health.

RELATED READ: First child flu-related death reported in Pennsylvania

This double dose for younger groups is due to their fledgling immune system, which benefits from a second dose to drive home the protection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if a child needs the two doses, physicians should begin the process early, so that children are protected before influenza starts circulating in their community. It usually takes about two weeks after the second dose for protection to begin. In cases that requires two doses of flu vaccine, they do not need to receive the same flu vaccine both times; live or inactivated vaccine can be used for either dose.

As for adults, there’s no evidence or research suggesting that two flu shots are beneficial. Additionally, adults who have never had a flu shot until this season won't benefit from a second one in the same year.

Health added:

There is some preliminary evidence that the effectiveness of the flu vaccine may wane over the course of a flu season, Dr. Barnett adds, but “at this time, this information does not represent a rigorous study of the phenomenon,” she says, and the research certainly isn’t strong enough to warrant getting another shot.

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