Getting a Flu Shot This Season? You Could Get a Free $5 or $10, Too

flu shot
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Summer’s at an end.  

It’s time for back-to-school shopping, throwing one last, boozy backyard bash, and — yes — thinking about the coming flu season.

Are you getting a flu shot this year?

It’s smart penny hoarding to do so: Avoiding the flu means avoiding taking sick days from work, and you won’t suddenly need to buy a bevy of tissues and decongestants.

To say nothing, of course, about the worst part of the flu: “It can make you feel awful,” as CVS almost too-plainly states.

So if you’ve decided to try and outsmart the virus by facing the needle, why not reap even more rewards than not being reduced to a couch-ridden, snotty mess?

Get Your Flu Shot at CVS to Score Sweet Freebies and Deals

flu shot
Mike Mozart under Creative Commons

CVS has already begun offering vaccines for the 2016-2017 season, and if you stop by to get yours, you’ll get more than a stick in the arm.

Freestanding CVS locations offer shoppers 20% off up to $50 worth of non-pharmacy purchases when they get their flu shots.

Since you always need stuff like shampoo and laundry detergent, it’s basically a free $10 for you to use to stock up — and since your 20% pass is good until March 31, 2017, you’ll have plenty of time to take advantage of it.

To get the deal, you must be an ExtraCare Rewards member — but it’s free and easy to sign up.

Also, beware that the pass can’t be issued or redeemed in Arkansas, New Jersey or New York, or at MinuteClinic locations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island or Pennsylvania. Sorry, Northeasterners!

If you stop by the CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic inside your local Target, you’ll get a different deal: a free $5 Target gift card, available between Aug.15, 2016 and March 31, 2017.

The gift card has no expiration date, but, again, Arkansas, New Jersey and New York are exempt.

Should You Get a Flu Shot This Year?

flu shot
skynesher/Getty Images

While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend flu shots every season for almost every human being over the age of six months, you should avoid the vaccine in some instances. See your doctor for the best advice.

But if you are going to get one, it might pay to do it soon — and not just because you’ll avoid long lines in September.

According to CVS’s information, “the vaccine provides protection starting two weeks after you receive it,” and the CDC recommends you get vaccinated every flu season “as soon as you can” to get ahead of the nasty bug

Most insurance policies cover flu shots, but if yours doesn’t, the vaccine will run you $39.99 at CVS and Walgreens.

And if you’re a student or employee, be sure to double-check and see if free immunizations are available! Many campus infirmaries and large corporate firms offer these disease-stopping measures gratis to help keep their communities healthy and productive.

If all goes as planned, you’ll stay sniffle-free and feeling anything but awful this winter — and who knows? You might just score some free money while you’re at it.

And that, unlike the needle, certainly can’t hurt.

Your Turn: Are you getting a flu shot this year?

Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot, Nashville Review and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.

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