The CDC reports this year's flu shot may not protect against a strain of influenza that's hitting the U.S.
Q. Does this mean the flu shot is useless?
Not at all. Although this year's flu vaccine doesn't match two of the three main types of flu strains now in circulation, people who did get a flu shot and catch the flu get a much milder disease. This can make a life-or-death difference to people who are at high risk of flu complications, such as pregnant women, young children, the elderly,...
The CDC says people with heart disease should get the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year. That way your body has time to build up enough antibody defenses before the flu season kicks into high gear. It can begin as early as October and last as late as May.
It's best to get vaccinated before December, but you can still do it later, if needed. The shot usually starts to protect you about 2 weeks after you get it.
A pneumonia vaccine usually only needs to be taken once. You may need a booster, though, if you got it before age 65 or you have certain medical conditions.