Getting the flu vaccine is one of the easiest and best ways to protect yourself this flu season–and yes, it’s already time to start thinking about flu season.
There are plenty of places you can get a flu shot for free, meaning the vaccine won’t cost you anything other than the prick of the actual needle. If you have insurance, that is.
While the Affordable Care Act brought a significant decrease in the number of Americans who don’t have health coverage, there are still millions who are uninsured. If you’re one of them, you’re probably wondering how to protect yourself from the flu this year at little or no cost. Here are a few options.
Government health centers
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, some federally funded health centers and state departments may offer preventive vaccines like the flu shot for free or at a low cost, including on a sliding scale based on your income. You can find health centers near you and browse your state’s vaccine offerings at Vaccines.gov.
The Vaccines for Children Program
Under 19, or have a child who is? If you don’t have insurance, you may be eligible for a flu shot through this government program that provides vaccines protecting babies, kids, and adolescents from 16 different diseases. Learn more at the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
You can pay out-of-pocket for a flu shot at loads of big-box pharmacies that probably have a location near you. Expect to pay $40.99 at CVS (and CVS Pharmacy locations inside Target) and Walgreens. Walmart, Rite Aid, Kroger, and other grocery stores with pharmacy services onsite also offer flu shots for people without insurance, but you’re going to want to contact your local branch for pricing details. You could also visit your nearest Costco; the Costco Member Prescription Program knocks flu shots down to $19.99.
Prices vary, but many of these local centers stock flu shots. Call ahead to make sure they still have the flu vaccine in supply and to ask how much they charge for those without insurance. (We found one that charges $25.)
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You may be able to take advantage of a free flu shot at your place of work, regardless of your insurance status. It makes sense, after all: It’s in the company’s best interest if fewer people get sick, too!
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