SCRANTON — Signs outside Rite-Aid in downtown Scranton urge passers-by to get their flu shot now.
In the middle of August?
Pharmacists told Newswatch 16 they are pushing the flu shot earlier this year. And the evidence is outside nearly every big box pharmacy.
Thanks in part to the heavy advertising, Stanley Grace of Scranton has decided to get early flu shots for his wife who is sick and for his kindergarten-bound granddaughter.
“Hopefully she’ll get her flu shot as soon as she’s better,” Grace said.
Physicians and pharmacists have different opinions on whether to get their flu shot this early in the year.
Geisinger Physician’s Assistant Dr. Marie Bonavoglia tells her patients to wait a few months since the flu vaccine only lasts for so long.
“October is probably the best, because you normally only get three months of coverage and I’d like patients to get coverage through the whole flu season,” Dr. Bonavoglia said.
Some pharmacists call the flood of flu shot signage in August more of a business tactic than sound medical advice.
“It’s kind of like political season. It looks like the chains, one beats the other one by getting the signs out first and they drum up more business by advertising the flu shot,” said Tom DePietro, who owns DePietro’s Pharmacy in Dunmore.
DePietro said he does have the vaccine in stock and his customers have been feeling the rush.
But he, too, has an opinion about when is best.
“Toward the end of this month and as the weather breaks come September, that’s when I recommend my customers to get the flu shot,” DePietro said.
Even though there are differing opinions, they all agree the most important thing is that if you get a flu shot, early or late, you’re still protected.