Where to Get a Cheap Flu Shot
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Where to Get a Cheap Flu Shot: Walmart, CVS, Costco, and More

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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 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 help you 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; and prices, services, and availability may vary by location. 

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

Rite Aid Pharmacy
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Rite Aid: $82

Rite Aid quoted by far the highest shot prices in our survey this season. The store carried three quadrivalent flu vaccines, all priced at $82. To get vaccinated with a high-dose flu shot, recommended for adults 65 and older, the cost was $140 out of pocket at Rite Aid.

Related: Walmart vs. Walgreens vs. CVS | Which Pharmacy Is Cheapest?

Safeway
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Walgreens
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CVS
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CVS/Target: $40

CVS pharmacies, including those in Target stores, offer quadrivalent flu shots for $40 for this seasonal exercise in preventive care. Immunization with a high-dose flu shot for seniors costs $70 at CVS/Target.

Walmart
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Walmart: $40

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

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 like Walmart and Target this season.

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

Part of the Walmart family, 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.

Meijer
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Meijer: $36

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: $20

Costco undercuts the rest with by far the cheapest flu shots this year. Members and non-members alike pay $20 out of pocket for a quadrivalent vaccine — half the price charged 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. In order to help keep employees from getting sick, many companies organize seasonal flu-shot days for employees and their family members, and the cost for a dose of the vaccination is often free. Call ahead for yourself and your family 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 veterans can check with their local VA clinic, and many colleges offer free shots to their students.

Related: DIY Remedies for Cold and Flu Season