Flu shot
CDC

Where to Get Cheap Flu Shots: Walmart vs. CVS vs. Costco and More

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Flu shot
CDC

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 6 months get a flu shot, but experts say it's even more important this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues.


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. Flu shots are also free under Medicare and many other health plans. For families without health insurance, flu shots from a doctor's office 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, Cheapism checked vaccine 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. Note that prices, services, and availability may vary by location.


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Kroger
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Kroger: $85

Both quadrivalent flu shots and the high-dose vaccine that is recommended for adults 65 and older are available at Kroger pharmacies this year for $85 out of pocket, which is a significant increase from years past and considerably more expensive than any other retailer on this list. The pricing also differs from other retailers in the sense that the quadrivalent shot is usually much cheaper than the high-dose.


Related: 30 Things to Know About Cold and Flu Season

Walmart
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Walmart: $44

Walmart pharmacies are offering a quadrivalent vaccine for $44 this year. A high-dose flu shot is available for just over $76. With a discount card, however, those costs dip to around $25 and $58, respectively.

Rite Aid Pharmacy
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Rite Aid: $42.99

A quadrivalent flu vaccine at Rite Aid is competitively priced at about $43. But to get vaccinated with a high-dose flu shot, the cost is $85 out of pocket, which is higher than most other retailers.

Walgreens
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CVS
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CVS/Target: $40.99

CVS pharmacies, including those in Target stores, offer quadrivalent flu shots for about $41. Immunization with a high-dose flu shot for seniors costs $74. 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 $25 to $30 for the quadrivalent vaccine and $40 to $50 for the high-dose vaccine.


Related: America's Healthiest States for Seniors, Ranked

Sam’s Club | Good, But Not Great
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Safeway
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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 $50-to-$80 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!)

Meijer
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Meijer: $25-$30

The Meijer chain offers quadrivalent flu shots for $25 to $30 with a coupon card. Immunization with the high-dose vaccine costs $60 at Meijer stores, which are found in the Midwest.

Costco
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Costco: $19.99

As it has in years past, Costco undercuts the rest with by far the cheapest seasonal flu shot. Members and non-members alike pay about $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

Where to Get a Cheap Flu Shot
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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 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.


Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor


Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.


Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.