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Scheduling your annual flu shot? What's new this year

According to the CDC, it's not too early to get that annual flu shot. In fact, health leaders recommend rolling up your sleeve by the end of October.

INDIANAPOLIS — As the weather cools with the start of autumn, it's a sure sign that flu season is right around the corner.

According to the CDC, it's not too early to get that annual flu shot. In fact, health leaders recommend rolling up your sleeve by the end of October.

Flu shots are recommended for anyone six months and older. The CDC reports some children may even need two doses.

Melissa McMasters is a nurse and the administrator of immunization and infectious disease programs at the Marion County Public Health Department.

"Typically flu season peaks around February, so it is important that even if you've gone beyond October or November, it's still an opportunity to get vaccinated," McMasters said.

RELATED: Franciscan Health to offer drive-thru flu clinics in central Indiana this month

New this year, Hoosiers 65 and older should receive one of three preferred flu vaccines, according to the CDC.

That list includes:

"If, by chance, you go to your pharmacy, your health department, or your doctor's office, and they don't have that particular version for you, it's okay to get the other kind. But really for that age group, those are preferred," McMasters said.

While health experts say it is too early to know for sure what this flu season will bring, McMasters says Marion County health officials are preparing for what could be a bad flu season.

"The ground rule with flu is it is unpredictable," McMasters said. "What's alarming us so far is Australia had a pretty significant flu season. They are opposite of us, seasons, so we often look to them to see what they experienced, and they had their worst flu season in five years."

Hoosiers still needing to schedule a flu shot can combine that appointment with the latest COVID-19 booster.

RELATED: New COVID-19 booster shots going out to Hoosiers: Who should sign up

"You can get both at the same time," McMasters said. "It's recommended to get both at the same time, and our clinics will be offering both vaccines. Several pharmacies and doctor's offices throughout Indianapolis will be offering both vaccines."

McMasters said anyone needing to schedule a flu shot can reach out to Marion County Public Health Department.

Additionally, Hoosiers can call the department's immunization program at 317-221-2122 for assistance scheduling an appointment.

Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS are also welcoming flu shot appointments now.

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