Fall is finally here, and with it comes the onset of Flu Season. Flu is a difficult illness for everyone, but for cancer patients, it can be devastating. It is especially confusing in this year which continues to challenge everyone with the uncertainty of COVID-19 and its variants. It is important to recognize that as cancer patients, important healthcare preventative actions like receiving a flu shot should not be ignored. Healthcare providers continue to practice precautions to assure safety during this pandemic.

Always consult your physician before getting vaccinated. There may be certain individual medical contraindications to being vaccinated, and they can recommend a safe source where you can receive the vaccination.

woman sick with the flu

The CDC estimates that flu has resulted in between 9.3 million and 49 million illnesses each year in the United States since 2010.1

Although there is no way to predict the severity and length of an individual flu season, it is important for GIST patients to receive vaccinations as early as possible. Flu activity peaks between December and March in the United States. The CDC recommends that cancer patients as well as close family members be vaccinated by the end of October.

Important information about the flu:

  • The flu shot is a seasonal vaccine. Each year it is designed to combat strains of flu expected to cause illness in the current season.
  • Being a cancer patient puts you at an increased risk of complications, which can include pneumonia, hospitalization and even death.
  • Choosing to get a flu shot is your best protection against the flu.

The CDC is the authoritative source for information on the current 2021-2022 season, but as always, it is important for you to check with your individual healthcare provider for any individual restrictions.

The website includes:

  • A list of the viruses the 2021-2022 vaccines protect against.
  • Types of vaccines recommended for protection against these viruses
  • Information on updates to the vaccines for this season
  • New vaccines licensed for this season
  • Recommended vaccines for this season

The CDC site also includes extensive information about COVIC-19 and seasonal flu.

A frequently asked question is “Is it safe to get a flu shot at the same time I get my COVID-19 Booster shot?
The answer from the CDC is yes. Read more here: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2021-2022.htm#coadmin

When should someone get the flu shot?
September and October are generally good times to be vaccinated. Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated by the end of October. Adults, especially those older than 65, should not get vaccinated early (in July or August) because protection in this group may decrease over time. Children can get vaccinated as soon as vaccine becomes available—even if this is in July or August.  Some children need two doses.  For those children it is recommended to get the first dose as soon as vaccine is available, because the second needs to be given at least 4 weeks after the first.  Early vaccination can also be considered for people who are in the third trimester of pregnancy, because this can help protect their infants during the first months of life (when they are too young to be vaccinated).

For more information on where you can get a flu vaccine, visit www.vaccinefinder.orgexternal icon.

To learn more about flu, visit Influenza (Flu). 2

More information is available on the CDC Website: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2020-2021.htm

Talk to your physician and make an appointment for your flu shot today!


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2020-2021.htm