Flu season returns: What it means for older adults

MADISON, Wis — More than ever, doctors are encouraging people to get their flu shot this year. With coronavirus being an additional health concern in the upcoming months, local pharmacists explained that older adults, a high-risk group which can require a special high dose vaccine, may not be able to get vaccinated right away.

“We’re almost out of it before we get our next shipment. At this point we’re like yeah, we have it, yeah, we don’t have it, we may have it…just check with us before you come in,” said Forward Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Matthew Mabie.

Pharmacists explained that while they order their vaccines in February, larger chains tend to receive shipments faster than small independent locations.

The CDC doesn’t recommend getting a flu shot too early because it can wear off – especially in older adults.

“What we see on an annual bases regardless of COVID is that our competitor pharmacies, the big chains of the nation, seem to receive the vaccine in August. What’s interesting is they push for that vaccine be given even though the CDC is recommending that you wait until mid-September or even October to get the vaccine,” said Fitchburg Family Pharmacy owner Thad Schumacher.

Still, pharmacists agreed that the flu shot is very important this year in order to reduce the possibility of having coronavirus and the flu at the same time.

“The flu shot is most effective when more people receive it so we encourage people to get the vaccine…and we have some people that are reluctant to get the vaccine I would encourage them to get the flu shot for all the individuals they know that can’t get the flu shot so people who are immunocompromised, young children that can’t get it…people like that,” said Schumacher.