How Much Does a Flu Shot Cost?
When it comes time for you to think about getting your seasonal flu shot, there are a few ways to go about getting one – each one with a different price tag. Before you run out and schedule that doctor’s appointment, check out the many ways to snag a vaccine, for less than you’d expect.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor
This is the way we all used to get vaccinations as kids. Whether you worked it into your back-to-school physical, or just made a special visit for all your vaccines at one time during another month, flu shots could be given along with your run-of-the-mill tetanus and MMR shots. Since most adults are caught up on these other shots, and possibly don’t need to be seen for anything else, scheduling a traditional appointment can be the most costly way to get a flu shot (in fact, many facilities won’t even allow you to do this). In addition to your office visit fee (which can range from $15-$120, depending on whether you have insurance), you’ll pay between $15 and $50 for a flu shot.Total cost: $30-$170 per shot.
Visit your local pharmacy
Perhaps the most popular way to get a flu shot without as much disruption to your day, pharmacies in both mom-and-pop and national chain stores are starting to offer flu shots on a walk-in basis. While the lines may be longer this year, due to the scare that H1N1 has caused, the procedures for obtaining a traditional flu shot (H1N1-specific shots are still on the horizon) are relatively painless, so to speak. To find out where you can get your shot, check your favorite pharmacy’s website. Walgreens, for example, is already offering their clinic from 10am – 4pm all 7 days of the week. (Note: Since these are walk-in offerings, many pharmacies will not honor insurance – although some have been known to apply the cost against certain types of Medicare.) Total Cost: $25 – 40 per shot.
Stop by a senior center
Since the elderly have traditionally been included in the high-risk group encouraged by doctors to get the shot each year, it’s only common sense to make the shot available where they are likely to hang out. Shots given at these privately-run recreational facilities are usually competitively priced and are not limited to just those 55 and above. Call you local center or check the paper for news on when you can get yours. Total Cost: $15 – 30 per shot
Free or low-cost clinics
Your local health and human services office may be your best bet to find cheap shots, if you are not covered by insurance or have many people in your family needing the vaccine. Check your state’s HHS website to get details on community action programs in your area that will be holding shot clinics in the next few months. While usually no one is turned down (even those with higher incomes), a suggested donation is usually appreciated if you can afford it. Total cost: Free - $20 per shot.
****Thanks to commenter Dawn below, who reminded us that your employer will often have a low-cost or free flu shot program for employees. Not employed? Alyssa at KingdomFirst Mom let us know that CVS will be giving FREE shots to the unemployed. Details to come!
With all the buzz surrounding the H1N1 virus, there have been talks of enlisting additional health professionals to be on call to administer vaccines if necessary. While I wouldn’t rush out to your dentist for that flu shot just yet, it may be another option in the months to come.
H1N1 Shots to be Given in Order of Risk (Kearney Hub)
Pharmacies Start Flu Shot Campaigns (Las Vegas Fox 5 News)
Flu Shot Isn’t for H1N1 (LA Times)