Where to Get a Cheap Flu Shot
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Where to Get Cheap Flu Shots: Walmart vs. CVS vs. Costco

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Where to Get a Cheap Flu Shot
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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 in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a dose of the influenza vaccine to avoid getting sick.

Under the Affordable Care Act, all marketplace insurance plans must cover the cost of the vaccine — although some set limitations on where the free flu shots are administered. Flu shots are also free under Medicare and many other health plans. For families without health insurance coverage, flu shots from a doctor's office can be costly, and generally 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, Cheapism checked vaccination prices at some of the country's largest pharmacy chains, as well as Costco and Sam's Club, which are known for low prices and allow non-members to use their pharmacies. The survey was conducted in late September at stores in the same western Ohio market area. Prices, services, and availability may vary by location.

Check out our full comparison of the biggest chain pharmacies, including Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and more, to compare prices on a range of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and other drugstore products in addition to immunizations.

Safeway
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Safeway: $45.99

Safeway, which has about 900 grocery stores nationwide, offers quadrivalent flu shots for about $46. That's the highest price in our comparison, although the chain is advertising a coupon for 10% off your next grocery purchase with any immunization. A high-dose shot for seniors, recommended for adults 65 and older, costs $75.

Related: Age Pays: 120 Senior Discounts on Products and Services (Some Starting at Age 50!)

Walgreens
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Walgreens: $40.99

To get vaccinated at Walgreens, it costs about $41 for a quadrivalent flu shot, about $1 more than many competitors' vaccinations. The high-dose flu shot for seniors, with four times more antigen than standard-dose flu vaccines, is $70.

Related: 15 Simple Ways to Protect Against Colds and Flu This Season

Kroger
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Kroger: $40

Quadrivalent flu shots are available at Kroger pharmacies this year for $40 out of pocket. Immunization with the high-dose vaccine costs $60, a $10 savings over vaccination prices at competitors from Walgreens to Walmart.

Sam’s Club | Good, But Not Great
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Sam's Club: $40

Walmart-owned Sam's Club stores with pharmacies sell quadrivalent flu shots for $40 and high-dose flu shots, recommended to help protect older people from the disease, for only $55 this season.

Rite Aid Pharmacy
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Rite Aid: $39.99

A quadrivalent flu vaccine at Rite Aid is competitively priced at about $40. But to get vaccinated with a high-dose flu shot, the cost is $77 out of pocket — the highest price in our survey this season.

Related: How to Keep Kids From Getting Sick at School

CVS
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CVS/Target: $39.99

CVS pharmacies, including those in Target stores, offer quadrivalent flu shots for about $40. (Target no longer operates its own pharmacies.) Immunization with a high-dose flu shot for seniors costs $70 at CVS/Target.

Walmart
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Walmart: $39.88

Walmart pharmacies are offering a quadrivalent vaccine for just under $40 this year. A high-dose flu shot, recommended for adults age 65 and older, is available for $70.

Meijer
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Meijer: $35.99

The family-owned, Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer chain offers quadrivalent flu shots for $36, slightly less than the going rate of about $40 elsewhere this season. Immunization with the high-dose vaccine costs $70 at Meijer stores, which are found in the Midwest. 

Related: 10 Tips for Saving Money on Prescriptions

Costco
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Costco: $19.99

Costco undercuts the rest with by far the cheapest seasonal flu shots this year. Members and non-members alike pay about $20 out of pocket for a quadrivalent vaccine — half the price at most other places this season. Seniors in need of high-dose flu vaccinations should also head to Costco for their seasonal shot. The popular warehouse giant has the lowest price: $46.50. 

Related: Health Products and Services That Cost Less at Costco

Flu Shot Employee
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Some Employers: Free

Another option (and the cheapest) is to get a 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 a dose of the vaccination 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 also offer free or low-cost shots. Military personnel can call their local VA clinic, and many colleges offer free shots to their students.

Related: DIY Remedies for Cold and Flu Season