6 Places to Get Cheap or Free Flu Shots

A woman reacts to getting the flu shot.
Ana Farfan reacts to getting an influenza vaccine shot at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. LM Otero/Getty Images


In case this news gets lost amid the COVID-19 noise, listen up: Flu season is upon us.

Having two potentially deadly viruses that share some of the same symptoms makes getting the flu vaccine important for both protecting yourself from the flu and reducing the strain on health care facilities responding to the coronavirus.

The good news: Getting vaccinated doesn’t have to be expensive. Here’s where to get a flu shot for cheap or free — plus where you could actually snag flu shot deals after getting your shot.

Where to Get Cheap or Free Flu Shots

The annual flu vaccine can help protect you from getting the flu and reduce the severity if you do contract it. 

The CDC recommends flu shots annually for everyone 6 months and older. 

Although September and October are the ideal times to get vaccinated, the CDC notes that you can get a vaccine so long as the flu virus is circulating — flu season doesn’t officially end until around April or May.

If you have health insurance, you’ll likely be able to get a free flu shot. But even if you don’t have insurance, you can still find affordable — and sometimes free — options.

Pro Tip

Some providers may have limited supplies of the flu vaccine, so check with your location before you go.

Ready to protect yourself from the influenza virus? Here’s where to go for your shot.

1. Local Retailers, Grocery Stores and Pharmacies

Many places you already shop offer free flu shots, and some pharmacies and stores will even throw in a special deal or coupon to save money on a future purchase. 

Pro Tip

Some providers may have limited supplies of the flu vaccine, so check with your location before you go.

Just by showing your insurance card, you can get a free shot. If you don’t have insurance, you can typically get the shot for less than $50 at the following businesses:

Costco 

You don’t need to be a member of the warehouse club to use a Costco pharmacy. And even if you don’t have insurance, you can get a flu vaccine starting at $19.99. Walk-ins are welcome, or click here to book an appointment online.

CVS 

Get your flu shot at CVS pharmacy or its Minute Clinic. Through Dec. 31, CVS is offering a $5 coupon off any shopping trip of $20 or more when you get a flu shot at one of its locations. Click here for the details and to schedule an appointment.

Kroger 

You can make an appointment to get a flu shot at Kroger Health’s pharmacies. Click here to book online.

Publix 

The grocery chain typically welcomes walk-up flu shot appointments at its in-store pharmacies, but this year it is also offering an online service that allows customers to schedule an appointment and sign consent forms ahead of time, which you can do by clicking here. Publix provides free flu shots through most health insurance plans, including Medicare.

Rite Aid 

The pharmacy chain is offering free flu shots with most insurance plans. You can get vaccinated as a walk-in patient or schedule an appointment online. Through Sept. 30, Rite Aid will give you $5 off a purchase of $25 or more if you get a flu shot at one of its locations.

Safeway 

Although there’s no appointment required, the grocery chain recommends filling out this consent form before you visit to get an immunization. It could really be worth your trouble for the flu shot deals. In addition to getting a free flu shot with most insurance plans, you get 10% off your next grocery purchase up to $200. Some Safeway locations are also offering drive-up flu shot clinics.

Target 

Stop by a CVS pharmacy at Target — walk in or schedule an appointment. Flu shots are free with most insurance plans.

Walgreens 

Get your free flu shot at this pharmacy chain with most insurance plans. You can either walk in or schedule an appointment at the pharmacy chain.

Walmart 

The big box chain is offering low-cost and free flu shots at its 4,600 locations nationwide. Find a Walmart location near you to get your immunization. Flu shots are also available at Sam’s Club locations with no Sam’s Club membership necessary.

2. Your Doctor and Urgent Care Clinics

If you have health insurance, you can get a free flu shot at a variety of places, including your doctor and urgent care clinics.

While the shot may be free, the office visit may not be — check before you make an appointment or show up at a clinic.

3. Your Workplace

If your office closed due to the pandemic, your employer might not be offering free flu shots this year. However, if you’re still showing up to work, it doesn’t hurt to ask your human resources department if your company would sponsor an on-site flu vaccination.

4. Your College Campus

If you’re a college student attending classes on campus, there’s a good chance your college may offer flu shots at no cost. Most times, all you’ll need is your student ID.

5. Community Health Centers

Community-based health centers are available in areas with limited access to affordable health care services. They provide services regardless of a patients’ ability to pay and charge for services on a sliding scale. 

Depending on where you live, your local health department may offer free flu shot clinics, regardless of your insurance status. Locate a center near you by clicking here.

6. VA Health Centers

If you’re a veteran enrolled in the VA health care system, you can get a no-cost flu shot at a VA health care facility or an in-network retail pharmacy or urgent care location near you. Just present a valid, government-issued identification and this flyer.

 

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.


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