Free Flu Shots Near Me? 14 Free and Cheap Options (CVS, Walgreens…)

Short Answer: Millions of people in the U.S. get influenza, commonly known as the flu, each year. By getting vaccinated, you can avoid the flu — and several places offer flu shots for free or at a low cost. Some of the places where you may be able to get a free flu shot include from your employer, your local physician (if your insurance covers flu shots), the county health department, or a college health center. Inexpensive flu shots are also available at places like Costco, CVS, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart. For more details on where to get a flu shot and how to choose the appropriate vaccine, see below.

Where to Get Free Flu Shots

Your Employer

Check with your employer to see if it will offer free flu shots this year. The inevitable decrease in productivity and increase in absences due to the flu is enough incentive for many employers to offer free flu shots for their employees.

Your Local Physician

Under the Affordable Care Act, your health insurance is required to cover your annual flu shot without a co-payment or coinsurance charge, though some health insurance plans will only cover flu shots given by your doctor or at specific locations. Medicare Part B plan fully covers flu shots. If you’re covered and can get an appointment with your local physician, this is an easy option.

Your County Health Department

Free flu shots are available through many county health departments. Contact your local health department to see if it will offer free flu shots this year. Some health departments will also list information about flu shots, including free clinic locations and dates, on their websites. These events can draw large crowds, so you may want to arrive early to avoid a long wait.

Your College Health Center

Many state schools and universities offer free or reduced-cost flu shots to students and employees. Check with your school’s health center to learn if flu shots are available to you.

Where to Get Cheap Flu Shots

There are plenty of pharmacies and retailers that offer inexpensive flu shots, whether you have insurance or not. Of course, if you are insured, your vaccine will likely be free of charge.

If you are not located near one of the following retailers, the CDC has made it easy to find a map of pharmacies, health clinics, and other vaccine providers near you with the HealthMap Vaccine Finder.

Depending on your location, the prices below may vary. For most stores, information on accepted insurance is limited. Fortunately, the following retailers do not require an appointment, so you can visit or call ahead to verify the details.

Costco

Note: You do not need a Costco membership to get a flu shot.

  • Price without insurance: $19.99 for the seasonal four-strain flu shot
  • Vaccines available: Standard quadrivalent vaccines
  • Accepted insurance plans: All major forms of insurance accepted
  • Immunization consent form: Save time and fill out your Costco Immunization Consent Form before visiting.
  • Find a Costco near you

CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic

Note: MinuteClinic is a walk-in clinic located inside some CVS Pharmacy stores. Anyone who gets a flu shot at CVS or MinuteClinic will receive a $5 off of $25 CVS coupon.

Kmart

  • Price without insurance: $50 for quadrivalent and $100 for high-dose
  • Vaccines available: Quadrivalent and high-dose vaccines
  • Accepted insurance plans: All major forms of insurance accepted
  • Immunization consent form: Kmart does not offer an online consent form.
  • Find a Kmart near you

Kroger

  • Price without insurance: $40 for standard quadrivalent and $60 for high-dose
  • Vaccines available: Quadrivalent and high-dose vaccines
  • Accepted insurance plans: Most forms of insurance accepted
  • Immunization consent form: Fill out the Kroger Vaccine Consent Form before visiting to save time during your appointment.
  • Find a Kroger pharmacy near you

Meijer

Rite Aid

 Sam’s Club

Note: You do not need a Sam’s Club membership to get a flu shot; however, Sam’s Club members receive an 8% discount off immunizations.

Target

Note: CVS/CVS MinuteClinic runs pharmacies and clinics in Target stores. Select stores offer $5 Target coupons upon receiving a flu shot.

  • Price without insurance: $40 for seasonal, $70 for high-dose
  • Vaccines available: Target stores with a CVS pharmacy offer adult and high-dose vaccines. Target MinuteClinics offer pediatric, adult, and high-dose vaccines.
  • Accepted insurance plans: Most forms of insurance accepted; see if your plan is accepted at CVS.com
  • Immunization consent form: Target does not offer an online consent form.
  • Find a CVS Pharmacy in Target or MinuteClinic in Target near you

Walgreens/Duane Reade Pharmacies and Walgreens Healthcare Clinic

  • Price without insurance: $41 quadrivalent and $70 for high-dose
  • Vaccines available: Quadrivalent and high-dose vaccines at Walgreens and Daune Reade Pharmacies; pediatric, adult, and high-dose vaccines at Walgreens Healthcare Clinics
  • Accepted insurance plans: Most forms of insurance accepted
  • Immunization consent form: Fill out your Walgreens Immunization Consent Form before visiting to save time.
  • Schedule an appointment at a Walgreens/Duane Reade Pharmacy or Walgreens Healthcare Clinic near you

Walmart

The Cost of the Flu vs. The Cost of a Flu Shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that complications from the flu cause up to 710,000 hospitalizations and up to 56,000 deaths every year. If you have an underlying medical condition or are an older American, your risk of complications from the flu increases significantly.

Even if you manage to fight off the flu in a matter of days, doctor’s office charges, medicine, and missing work could set you back financially. Between doctor visits and purchasing medicine, a person with health insurance will pay an average of $130 to treat the flu. If you don’t have health insurance, you could be looking at $100 for medicine alone. In comparison, flu shots are widely available at little to no cost. For most Americans, it makes good financial sense to get a flu shot.

Facts on Flu Shots You Need to Know

Before visiting the nearest place that offers free or affordable flu shots, here are a few facts you should know about the flu shot:

  • You should get a flu shot once a year. Your immunity decreases over time, and new vaccines are created every year to fight different strains of the flu.
  • With rare exceptions, such as people with severe allergies to flu vaccine ingredients, anyone over six months of age can get a flu shot.
  • It takes about two weeks for a flu shot to become effective.
  • “The flu shot can give you the flu” is a myth. However, mild and short-lived side effects may occur after you receive the flu shot. These may include redness and tenderness at the site of the shot, a runny nose with the nasal spray vaccine, a mild fever, and muscle aches.

Types of Flu Shots and How to Choose One

Several types of flu vaccines are developed each year to better protect patients of different age groups and with varying health requirements from the flu virus. The administrator of the vaccine will determine which vaccine is best for you.

  • Standard trivalent vaccines protect against three types of flu viruses and are approved for various age groups.
    • High-dose vaccines, recommended for ages 65 and older, also protect against three types of flu but are much more potent than standard trivalent vaccines.
    • Recombinant vaccines are egg-free and available for ages 18 and older.
    • One trivalent formulation can be given via jet injector and is available for ages 18 to 64.
    • One trivalent formulation contains adjuvant, an ingredient which creates a stronger immune system, and is available for ages 65 and older.
  • Quadrivalent vaccines protect against four types of flu viruses and are approved for various age groups.

In Summary

Whether you are insured or not, flu shots are widely available and can be affordable. From your county health department to your local retail pharmacy to your doctor’s office, there is a wide array of places to get a flu shot. You may be able to get a free flu shot through your employer, regular doctor, health department, or college health center, but you can also find low-cost flu shots at places like Costco, CVS, Kroger, Target, and Walmart.

An article you may want to bookmark should you or a loved one get the flu: The List of Pharmacies Open 24 Hours

Leave a Comment

We respond within 24 hours.

Terms of Use