Is a Second Flu Shot a Good Idea?

The flu season's running late, and that might mean protection from your flu shot is ending early, Dr. Bruce Hensel reported. Some doctors are giving booster shots: Good or bad idea?

Some people think its a good idea for some people. Some experts object; it depends on your history and condition.

Cassandra Harris and her husband faithfully get their flu shots every fall. 

"It seems to have worked! I haven't gotten the flu for all the years I've been taking it," Harris said.

With a late-arriving flu season, however, they're rolling up their sleeves again. 

"We know that antibodies, that are the protection against influenza from the vaccine, decline over time, and by this time there are patients who probably do not have sufficient levels of antibody to protect them,"  Lung doctor Len Horovitz said. 

Flu season typically peaks by February, but this year it's just starting to hit its stride.

"This particular year we're gonna see the peak in march or april, or maybe even as late as may," Dr. Horovitz said.

To ensure protection, doctor Horovitz reaches out to patients for flu boosters when they got their shots early in the fall.

"The high risk individuals from September, October who were vaccinated are the ones i would like to see first because they have underlying conditions that make them particularly susceptible," Dr. Horovitz said. 

As for the vaccine itself, it's the same as the one used in the fall.

"There's nothing different about the vaccine that we would be using to revaccinate patients as a sort of booster, thinking of the initial vaccine as a primer," Dr. Horovitz said.

The CDC says boosters are not part of their plan. Some experts think a second shot is a bad idea; if you're healthy a second shot may not be necessary; the elderly or people with other medical problems may benefit. If you haven't gotten even one shot there's still time
Ask your doctor whats right for you," Dr. Bruce said.

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