CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) -- - Have you had your flu shot yet? It's not too late, but is it ever too early? If you had your shot in august or September, will it still protect you when the flu season starts hitting hard in Western New York? News 4 spoke to a local doctor to find out.
You can get the flu shot just about anywhere, the doctor's office or your local pharmacy.
"The more people that get the flu shot, the less likely it is for flu to spread through society," said Dr. Brian D'Arcy, Chief Medical Officer at the Catholic Health System.
And after a deadly flu season last year, doctors are encouraging people to get vaccinated to prevent another outbreak.
"It's never too late, even up into January, February as the flu season runs," said Dr. D'Arcy.
But is it ever too early to get the flu shot?
Some doctors say yes. In fact, they say immunity tends to fade by 20% a month.That means people who received their shot in August or September may not be well protected by the time they're exposed to the virus.
Dr. Brian D'arcy at Catholic Health disagrees.
"No it's not, no it's not too early. There has been some scientific research questioning the immune response, if that wanes somewhat over time but that really hasn't been proved," said Dr. D'Arcy.
Dr. D'arcy says generally it's best to get the flu shot at the end of October. He says the flu season can be anytime from October -- all the way through May.
"And we're starting to see some uptick in the resutls across New York State and so it's creeping towards us," said Dr. D'Arcy.
There have been more than 250 flu cases reported in New York State so far this season, according to the State Department of Health. Many cases involve people ages 18 to 49. So far one child has died from the flu this season.
That's why Dr. D'arcy says even if you haven't received the flu shot yet -- it's never too late.
"When you get the flu shot there's about a two week period for the body to generate it's immune response but that immune response should then carry us through the current flu season," said Dr. D'Arcy.
The elderly and anyone with a chronic medical condition are especially at risk.
Doctors encourage anyone over the age of six months to get the flu vaccine. Dr. D'Arcy says now even most pregnant women should get it.