It’s time to start lining up for flu shot already folks, according to the CDC. Sure, it still feels like summer. It’s still warm enough to lounge around the pool and you still need to slather on the sunscreen or risk getting a nasty burn.

But the CDC advises that all adults and children (older than six months) should get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated before flu season strikes may well offer the best protection, says the CDC. But not everyone agrees that’s the best plan, especially for senior citizens.

“You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community,” says the CDC. “It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early in fall.”

Phamacist Prakash Deshpande injects a patient with influenza vaccine at a Manhattan pharmacy. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) 

However, the timing of the shot is not a cut-and-dried issue. Certainly there are those who worry about getting the shot too early so that their immunity wears off long before the gnarly flu months of January and February hit in full force. Some studies suggest vaccines lose protectiveness during the course of a single flu season. In people over 65, as NPR reports, the protective effect may wear off faster than it does in young people. Seniors may want to mull it over before they do the early bird thing.

“The data are very mixed,” says Dr. John J. Treanor, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Rochester medical school. “So some might worry that if [they] got vaccinated very early and flu didn’t show up until very late, it might not work as well,” he told NPR. But other studies show “you still have protection from the shot you got last year,” Treanor adds, “if it’s a year when the strains didn’t change.”

It should also be noted that the flu shot is far from perfect. Last year it was only about 36% effective. However, the shot, which has been tweaked in the hopes of targeting current strains of the virus, is usually more effective in children. The good news is that both standard vaccines and nasal sprays are recommended for the 2018-2019 flu season.

The CDC notes the possibility that “delaying vaccination might permit greater immunity later in the season,” but it maintains that “deferral could result in missed opportunities to vaccinate.”

The vaccine reminder comes after last year’s particularly intense flu season,  which according to the Academy of Pediatrics was the third most severe since 2003–2004 and  the first to be classified as high severity for all age groups.

More than 700,000 people were hospitalized with the flu during last season and about 180 children died, CNBC points out. About 80 percent of the children who died from the flu last season weren’t vaccinated.

There’s no way to predict what this year’s flu season will be like, but the usual precautions should be taken. In addition to getting the shot, wash your hands, cover your cough and stay home from school or work if you do get sick. Stocking up on cough drops and tissue won’t hurt either.