Free or Frugal Flu Shot for 2021-22 Flu Season πŸ’‰

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 any health insurance plan, 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 both with and without insurance, as well as each store's free covid-19 vaccines availability.

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 and severe illness.

How bad is this contagious respiratory illness? It starts by affecting your respiratory system all at once, including the nose, throat, and lungs. While you can get the flu any time of year, the window from December to March is peak flu season for transmission and catching it.

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:

  1. Influenza A (H1N1) virus
  2. Influenza A (H3N2) virus
  3. Two influenza B viruses
  4. 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?

Absolutely.

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?

According to the CDC:

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 and pharmacy chains allow you to print a copy of their vaccine consent form at home and fill it out ahead of time, if you prefer.

Free & Discounted Flu Shots πŸ’‰

Here are all of the stores, pharmacies, and grocers offering free and discounted flu shots for 2021. I also included whether or not you can get a free covid-19 vaccination as well.

As you can see from the table, a lot of places stopped advertising the cost of flu shots without insurance. The average cost when I started this list in 2019 was around $30-$40.

StoreWith InsuranceWithout InsuranceBonus PerkCovid Vaccine Offered
AlbertsonsFree?10% off a grocery purchase up to $200Yes, free
CostcoFree$19.99?
CVSFree$40.99which can be stacked with their flu & cold medicine sales.Yes, free
Giant Eagle??$5 in free groceriesYes, free
Giant FoodFree49.99 estimateYes, free
Harris TeeterFree?50 fuel pointsYes, free
H-E-BFree?Yes, free
Hy-VeeFree?20 cents per gallon Fuel Saver discount?
KrogerFree49.99 estimateYes, free
Martin's FoodFree?From September 8 – October 2, select pharmacy locations will provide flu shots and other vaccines right from the comfort of your own car.Yes, free
MeijerFree??
PublixFree?Yes, free
Rite AidFree?$5 off $25 in-store purchase. Coupon expires 9/30/21.Yes, free
SafewayFree?10% off a grocery purchase up to $200?
Sam's ClubFree?Yes, free
TargetFree?$5 off $20 couponYes, free
WalgreensFree?$5 Walgreens Cash rewards for every vaccine you get.Yes, free
WalmartFree?Yes, free
WegmansFree?Yes, free
Winn-DixieFree49.99 estimate$20 in FREE Groceries! Get a $10 Winn-Dixie Coupon when you get your Flu or COVID-19 shot + a $10 Winn-Dixie Coupon with any other vaccine received on the same day! Click here for details.Yes, free
StoreWith InsuranceWithout InsuranceBonus PerkCovid Vaccine Offered

In previous years, HIF's free drug card knocked $20 off Walmart's flu vaccine! Print yours out today and start saving immediately!

Possible Locations for Free Flu Shots πŸ’‰

So let's say you're looking for a free flu shot without insurance. The good news is there are plenty of options available to your, nationwide!

County 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 great locator to finding your local public health clinic.

If that doesn't work, here's another 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 πŸ™‚

College & University – Many on-campus health clinics offer students free flu shots each year. To check, start with your school's website or Google for confirmation.

VA Health Center – Veterans enrolled with the VA health care system can always get a free flu shot at more than 70,000 VA health care facilities, in-network retail pharmacy, or urgent care location without an appointment. All you need is proper ID.

Local Pharmacies – It's worth checking with your local pharmacies and asking. CVS pharmacist Bill Cuffari says they're sometimes able to discount flu shots for those in need.

Walgreens Pharmacy spokeswoman Rebekah Pajak also confirmed they try to never turn anyone away because of the flu shot's cost.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, the influenza vaccine is safe and easily accessible for free in all 50 states.

If you know of any places that I missed, please let us know in the comments!

Stay safe this year, Hiffers!

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