Working from home provides all sorts of hidden perks. I have 24-7 access to snacks. Impromptu naps can strike at any moment. And I rarely have to interact with humans and the outside world!
However, if you actually “leave your house” and “encounter other humans” on a regular basis, chances are you might catch the flu each year. Enter your yearly seasons flu shot!
For starters, if you have health insurance, the Affordable Care Act requires they cover the cost of your flu shot in many situations.
If you're over 65 years old, then you may also get a flu shot covered by Medicare Part B.
At the bottom of this post, I've collected all the major retailers offering flu shots along with their prices, perks, and other important notes. Many of these are priced for people without insurance
If you don't have health insurance, HIF's free drug card helps you get the absolute lowest price! Print yours out today and start saving not just on flu shots, but prescription drugs and even pet medications!
What is the flu vaccine?
Flu vaccines help develop antibodies in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are used to make the vaccine. In fact, the CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza and its potentially serious complications.
Each year, there are many different strains of the influenza viruses. Research and study help indicate which will be the most common, at which point the vaccine is tweaked for the current year. The most common vaccines are “quadrivalent,” which protect against four different flu viruses:
- Influenza A (H1N1) virus
- Influenza A (H3N2) virus
- Two influenza B viruses
- Two influenza B viruses
This is your standard-dose flu shot. Several different brands of this type of flu shot are available and they are approved for different age groups. Some are approved for children as young as 6 months of age. Most flu shots are given in the arm (muscle) with a needle. One quadrivalent flu shot can be given either with a needle (for people aged 6 months and older) or with a jet injector (for people aged 18 through 64 years only).
There are also “trivalent” vaccines that protect against three different flu viruses. Two of the trivalent vaccines are designed specifically for people 65 and older to create a stronger immune response.
Some of you might be thinking “wait a minute…what if I catch a flu strain that isn't in the vaccine?” Well, you'll get the flu! However, by getting the flu shot ahead of time, your symptoms will be much less severe than they would've been had you not gotten the flu shot.
The CDC has a great breakdown on the key facts of the flu vaccines.
Is the flu vaccine safe?
Obviously there are exceptions based on your specific needs, requirements, and conditions.
But for the vast majority of the population, flu vaccines not only are safe, but help save lives. Not just yours, but those around you! Herd immunity is a very real and important concept, which far more individuals rely upon than you might realize.
Are there risks? Yes. But that's life. Mitigating risk is why we still drive cars, but wear seat belts.
When should I get vaccinated?
You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout flu season, even into January or later.
Flu vaccine tips
In order for your flu shot to go smoothly, make sure to wear loose-fitting clothing and bring your insurance information, if you have any.
Many stores also allow you to print a copy of their vaccine consent form at home and fill it out ahead of time.
Possible Locations for Free Flu Shots 💉
Country Health Department – It's worth checking with your local county or city health departments. Hundreds of them scattered across the country offer free flu shot clinics during certain dates.
Here's a database directory of all the local health departments across the country.
Employer – Did you know the flu costs an average of $7 BILLION in lost earnings each year? As a result, many large places of employment will offer their employees free flue shots each year. The collective heard immunity helps keep flu from sweeping through the office and saves your sick days for longer vacations 🙂
College & University – Many on-campus health clinics offer students free flu shots each year.
Discounted Flu Shots 💉
Costco – $19.99 for a quadrivalent (4-strain) seasonal flu shot without insurance. Some site are reporting this is valid for non-Costco members, but I cannot confirm this. Costco's own site now says
Pricing reflects Costco Member Prescription Discount card which may vary by location and is subject to change. Revised 9/10/19
I would call ahead to my local Costco to see if you need to be a member or not.
CVS: $39.99 for a quadrivalent (4-strain) seasonal flu shot without insurance.
You also get a $5 off $25 purchase coupon with your flu shot!
Giant Eagle: They don't say how much their flu shot costs, but you $5 coupon off groceries.
Harris Teeter: Their site mentions “free” flu shots, but I can't find any good info on this promo, so I'd check with your local in-store pharmacist.
You also get 50 free fuel points.
Hy-Vee: Again, they don't announce the price, but you get a $0.20 off per gallon gas card after snagging your flu shot at Hy-Vee.
Kroger: $40 for a quadrivalent (4-strain) seasonal flu shot without insurance.
Martin's Food: They are also doing the flu shots in your car!
Meijer: $35 for a quadrivalent (4-strain) seasonal flu shot without insurance.
Publix: $44 for a quadrivalent (4-strain) seasonal flu shot without insurance.
With your shot, you also get a free $10 Publix gift card!
Rite Aid: $39.99 for a quadrivalent (4-strain) seasonal flu shot without insurance.
Safeway: $38.99 for a quadrivalent (4-strain) seasonal flu shot without insurance.
Target: $39.99 for a quadrivalent (4-strain) seasonal flu shot without insurance.
Walgreens: $40 for a quadrivalent (4-strain) seasonal flu shot without insurance.
Without our free card, the cost jumps to $39.88.
Stay safe this year, Hiffers!