7 Places to Get Vaccinated for Cheap or Free

By Damian Davila on 27 August 2015 1 comment

Less than half of Americans were vaccinated against the flu during the 2013–2014 season.

The statistics for other types of immunizations are even more discouraging:

  • 21% of adults with high-risk conditions have received a pneumococcal vaccination;
     
  • 24% of adults over age 60 have received a shingles vaccination; and
     
  • 17% of adults have received a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine in the last 8 years.

While there may be many reasons why people aren't getting vaccinated, cost shouldn't be one of them. Here are seven places to get immunized for cheap or free.

1. "Stop Flu at School" Programs

During the fall, most state Departments of Health in the country offer free flu vaccine programs at participating public, private, and parochial schools. For example, the Hawaii State Department of Health provides flu shots to over 65,000 students statewide every year through its Stop Flu at School program.

Participation in school vaccinations is voluntary and requires permission of a child's parent or legal guardian. Check with your school whether or not it's participating in a flu vaccination program and inquire about more details, such as necessary consent forms and available methods of vaccine delivery.

2. Your Workplace

Every year, nearly 111 million U.S. workers get sick with the flu, costing about $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity. Even more troubling is that adults ages 18 to 64 account for about 35% to 40% of flu hospitalizations. If you're the main breadwinner at your home, you need to take action to protect yourself and your loved ones against preventable diseases and potential financial strains.

This is why many businesses are offering free flu shots and other types of immunizations to their employees. The larger the organization that you work for, the higher the chances that your workplace offers at least one type of immunization for free. Check with your HR department for more details.

3. County Health Department Programs

Many county health departments offer immunization services that have lower prices than private pharmacy service providers.

For example, the cost of a hepatitis A/B (Twinrix) vaccine at the Washoe County Health District is $63, while the cost of the same vaccine at Costco is $109.97. Another example is the State of Hawaii, Department of Health, which offers free or low cost vaccinations for persons without health insurance.

Keep in mind that most county health departments require an appointment and walk-ins often result in long waiting times. Check with your local county health department for more details.

4. Participating Locations Through the Health Insurance Marketplace

Thanks, Obama.

Per the Affordable Care Act, all health care plans sold through the health insurance marketplaces must cover certain preventative services, such as immunizations, without charging you a copayment or coinsurance.

Here is a list of the covered immunization vaccines for children and adults:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Herpes zoster
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Influenza (flu shot)
  • Measles, mumps, rubella
  • Meningococcal
  • Pneumococcal
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis
  • Varicella

Check with your insurance provider for details about where you can receive immunizations for free. To get a list of locations near your zip code that may accept your insurance plan, you can also use the vaccine finder offered by Vaccines.gov.

5. Costco

Assuming that you have no health insurance, you need a flu shot right this minute, and are ready to pay out-of-pocket, your best bet is to visit a Costco Pharmacy. At $14.99, Costco offers the most affordable flu shot (influenza) to anybody that doesn't have insurance and is ready to pay out-of-pocket. Costco also offers types of vaccines, such as pneumonia and shingles.

No Costco membership? No problem. Immunization services are one of the seven things non-members can get at Costco.

6. Target

If a Target offering flu shots happens to be more convenient for you than the nearest Costco warehouse, then you can take advantage of Target's price match guarantee to lower the cost of your immunization.

Bring proof of the listed price for a flu shot at a nearby Costco and Target will lower the price of its original flu shot from $23.99 to $14.99. Call your nearby Target location for more details and a list of available immunizations for children and adults. (Note: Target stores in Hawaii and Alaska are excluded from the price match program.)

7. Sam's Club

Neither a Costco or Target nearby? Head to the nearest Sam's Club that offers pharmacy services. Non-members don't need a Sam's Club membership to buy pharmaceuticals and Sam's Club doesn't charge extra for those purchases.

If you do have an insurance plan, it may entitle you to a free flu shot at qualifying Sam's Club locations. The cost of a flu shot is at Sam's Club is $15. The big box retailer also offers other types of immunizations.

Where do you get immunized for cheap or free?

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Guest's picture
Guest

Vaccines are useless and a scam. Polio vaccines did nothing - look it up. It's all about the $, as usual.

Guest's picture
Guest

My kid was vaccinated against the chickenpox. I never received the vaccination as a kid. Guess who got the chickenpox? Guess who had to miss school for two weeks. Correct... me! The only reason why it appears that vaccines are a scam is because most have been vaccinated from these classic diseases in developed countries like the United States.