Where To Get Cheap Flu Shots

'Free Flu Shots Here' Sign on a Light Post in the East Village, Manhattan, 2020

Noam Galai/Getty Images

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'Free Flu Shots Here' Sign on a Light Post in the East Village, Manhattan, 2020
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Give It a Shot

Peak time for seasonal flu in the United States generally falls in January or February, but activity can erupt as early as October. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over six months get a flu shot, and with the coronavirus pandemic still in the mix, it's more important than ever to prepare for flu season. When scheduling your shot, you probably have a few questions: Will it hurt? Can I get it at Costco? What does a Walgreens flu shot cost without insurance?

Under the Affordable Care Act, all marketplace insurance plans must cover the cost of the vaccine — although some set limitations on where free flu shots are administered. Free flu shots are also available under Medicare and many other health plans. But getting a flu shot without insurance at a doctor's office or health center can be costly, and cheaper trivalent vaccines have all but disappeared in favor of quadrivalent vaccines, which protect against four strains of influenza instead of three.

To find the cheapest place to get a flu shot — as well as which retailers are administering flu shots — Cheapism checked vaccine prices at some of the country's largest pharmacy chains. We also checked prices at Costco and Sam's Club, which are known for low prices and allow non-members to use their pharmacies. Note that prices, services, and availability may vary by location.

Front Exterior of a Kroger Grocery Store, Indianapolis, Parking Lot in the Foreground with Cars and a Few People Walking Towards the Store

Kroger: $90

Both quadrivalent flu shots and the high-dose vaccine that is recommended for adults 65 and older are available at Kroger pharmacies this year, though at a much higher price than other pharmacies on our list. The quadrivalent flu shot is $90, while the high-dose shot is $128. One sliver of good news: You'll receive a coupon for $5 off your next grocery purchase if you get your flu shot by Nov. 5.

Related: 31 Things to Know About Cold and Flu Season

Front Exterior of Walmart, Salinas, California, Front Doors, Vending Machines, and Sidewalk
Ken Wolter/shutterstock

Walmart: $36

Walmart pharmacies are offering a quadrivalent vaccine for $36 this year, while a high-dose flu shot is available for just over $80. With a discount card, however, the costs of a flu shot dip to around $27 and $79, respectively.

Front Exterior of a Rite Aid Pharmacy, Gold River, California, Building Is Made of Bricks, Cars Parked in the a Line of Parking Spaces in the Foreground

Rite Aid: $50

A quadrivalent flu vaccine at Rite Aid is competitively priced at $50. But to get vaccinated with a high-dose flu shot, the cost is $90 without health insurance, which is higher than many other retailers.

Front Exterior of a Walgreens Pharmacy, Los Angeles, Windows and Front Doors with a Few Cars Parked on the Left
City of Angels/shutterstock
Front Exterior of a CVS Pharmacy, West Palm Beach, Florida, Front Doors and Windows, Light Beige Building with Road in the Foreground

CVS/Target: $50

CVS pharmacies, including those in Target stores, offer quadrivalent flu shots for about $50. Immunization with a high-dose flu shot for seniors costs $95. However, according to pharmacists we spoke with, you can get a flu shot for less at most locations by asking for a discount card, which lowers the price to about $30 to $35 for the quadrivalent vaccine and $50 for the high-dose vaccine. Plus, if you schedule your appointment online, you can get a $5-off-$20 coupon after your vaccination.

Related: America's Healthiest States for Seniors, Ranked

Front Exterior of Sam's Club Warehouse, Folsom, California, Driveway in the Foreground, a Person with a Shopping Cart Exiting

Sam's Club: $20-$23

Members of Walmart-owned Sam's Club with pharmacies can get quadrivalent flu shots for $20 to $23 and high-dose flu shots for $45 to $50. If you're not a member, a quadrivalent flu shot will cost $48, and a high-dose flu shot will cost $82.

Front Exterior of a Safeway Grocery Store, Calgary, Canada, Driveway in the Foreground with Sidewalk

Safeway: $30

With a discount card, Safeway offers quadrivalent flu shots for about $30. The chain is advertising a coupon for 10% off your next grocery purchase up to $200 with any immunization, which could make this the best deal for Safeway shoppers who need to stock up. A high-dose shot for seniors can cost in the $70-to-$100 range, depending on location and availability of the discount card, according to pharmacists we spoke with.

Related: 130+ Senior Discounts on Products and Services (Some Starting at Age 50!)

Front Exterior of the Logo of a Meijer Grocery Store, Indianapolis, Parking Lot in the Foreground
Jonathan Weiss/shutterstock

Meijer: $25

The Meijer chain offers quadrivalent flu shots for $25 with a coupon card. Immunization with the high-dose vaccine costs $68 at Meijer stores, which are found in the Midwest.

Front Exterior of a Costco Warehouse, Indianapolis, Front Doors with People Exiting, Doors Parked in a Line in the Parking Lot in the Foreground
Jonathan Weiss/shutterstock

Costco: $20

As it has in years past, Costco offers one of the cheapest seasonal flu shots. Members and non-members alike pay $20 out of pocket for a quadrivalent vaccine — half the price of most other places. Seniors in need of the high-dose flu vaccine should also head to Costco for the lowest price by far: just under $47.

Related: Health Products and Services That Cost Less at Costco

Closeup of Gloved Hands of a Nurse Giving a Patient’s Arm a Flu Shot, Selective Focus

Some Employers: Free

Another option (and the cheapest) is to get a free flu shot through an employer. To help keep employees from getting sick, many companies organize seasonal-flu-shot days for employees and their family members, and the vaccine is often free. Check before heading to a pharmacy to get your yearly dose this season.

There are also other ways to save money. Many free clinics, local health departments, and other organizations offer low-cost or free flu shots. Military personnel can call their local Veterans Affairs clinic, and many colleges offer free shots to their students.