How to Plan for a Free and Cheap Flu Shot This Year Updated

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Late summer and into fall is a great time to get your flu shot, especially a cheap flu shot. Here’s why you want to get a flu shot this year, regardless of price.

First, with plenty of people still getting sick from the virus, you don’t want to add the seasonal flu on top of that.

Second, it’s shown that people who get the flu shot get a less severe case of the flu, so says the CDC, if they do end up getting it. Many don’t get the flu at all.

The one year I didn’t get a flu vaccine

Third, if you have pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, you can get really really sick if you get the flu. I learned this the hard way the one year I didn’t get a flu shot, and I got the flu.

It was awful. From then on I was convinced–I must get a flu shot. Most years I try to get the flu shot as soon as it’s available. But there have been times I got my flu shot in January, and I never got sick.

Why write about free and cheap flu shots

Even better, I believe in getting a free or cheap flu shot. It’s important to invest in your health with an annual flu vaccine.

That’s why I’ve written this post on flu shot deals and have updated it each year to reflect new offers. Hopefully, this blog post will answer the questions “Are there free flu shots near me in this year?” or “Are there free flu shots near me without insurance?” or “Where can I go to get a free flu shot without insurance?”

Why my flu shots have always been free

Because I have asthma, my flu shots have always been free. (Read: pre-existing condition.) But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I believe that most people with insurance now qualify for a free flu shot or at least a cheap flu shot.

Also, Americans who have Medicare Part B may not have to pay for their flu shot. If you are a Medicare Part B participant, check first before rolling up your sleeve for your flu shot.

New this year: flu shots and the COVID vaccine

This is the first year when Americans will be considering when to get their flu shot and, if they haven’t already, when to get their COVID vaccine or booster. What’s great is you don’t have to have any interval in between getting one vaccine or the other. You can get the flu shot at the same time as your COVID vaccine or booster shot.

The only situation when you shouldn’t get a COVID vaccine or booster shot and the flu shot? If you’re sick with either virus. But this advice isn’t new: you should never get a vaccine while currently dealing with an active infection of the disease you are trying to get inoculated against.

Finally, many retailers and other companies are offer vaccine incentives for getting a shot. At the bottom of this post, I’ve included the most recent freebies, rewards and other vaccine incentives I could find regarding a COVID shot.

Cheap flu shots no insurance

But what about people who don’t have insurance or who aren’t old enough to qualify for Medicare? There are still ways you can get cheap flu shots, even if you have no insurance.

Here are 11 ideas on where you can go for free or cheap flu shots this year, including a no insurance flu shot.

Remember: it’s never too late to get that flu shot. Flu shot prices will vary based on where you get your shot. It could be the cost of your copay or it could be free.

1. Cheap Flu Shot at the Drugstore or Pharmacy

Most of the major drugstores and pharmacy chains are likely to offer flu shots. Many take insurance, meaning that your flu shot may end up being free. Some stores offer different flu vaccine incentives. 

I believe the chances are pretty good that you live near at least one of the drugstore or pharmacies mentioned below. Therefore, you should be able to find free flu shots near you and me without insurance.

Flu shots Targettarget flu shot shots cvs

CVS has free-standing stores as well as the pharmacies inside Target stores. There are deals on flu shots there, too.

You’ll get a $5 Target coupon when you get a no-cost flu shot. So a free flu shot and $5 off at Target. Sweet. This coupon, by the way, is just like when you get a $5 Target gift card when you buy something advertised. 

You’ll get an additional $5 when you fill 10 prescriptions at the Target CVS pharmacy, too. So head there for Target flu shots and to fill your CVS prescription, too.

Walgreens flu shots

Another drugstore option is Walgreens. This year Walgreens is advertising a free flu shot option.

Cash back on your flu shot

Did you shop at either of these stores after getting your flu shot? Be sure to scan your receipt via the Ibotta shopping app to get cash back on those purchases.

Here’s my review of the Ibotta shopping app

2. Cheap Flu Shots at the Supermarket

Many supermarkets have a pharmacy inside. It makes it much more convenient to grocery shop and pick up prescriptions. It’s a time saver to have your flu shot done at the supermarket. Ask your local supermarket pharmacy about flu shot availability. You might be able to get it for free, with insurance, or just really cheap.

Here is how to place your supermarket order online.

Note: some supermarket pharmacies will only give a flu shot to those age 18 or older. I learned this the hard way when I took my then-17 year old daughter to get a flu shot, and we were turned away.

3. Big Box Store Flu Shot Offers

As I mentioned above, at Target you’ll get a $5 Target coupon when you get a no-cost flu shot. But Target is hardly the only big box store offering a free or cheap flu shot.

Some Kmart stores have pharmacies in them. Costco and other warehouse clubs have a pharmacy, and free or low-cost flu shots, too.

By the way, you do not need a Costco membership to take advantage of the company’s pharmacy services. However, now is a great time to sign up for a Coscto membership.

Join Costco today. Get a $20 Costco Shop Card as a new Executive Member. Or, get a $10 Costco Shop Card as a new Gold Star Member.

(Note: Valid only for nonmembers for their first year of membership. Limit one per household. Nontransferable and may not be combined with any other promotion. You must join in person with a Costco representative. New members will receive their Costco Shop Card by mail in 4 to 6 weeks. Costco Shop Cards are not redeemable for cash, except where required by law. A Costco membership is $60 a year. An Executive Membership is an additional $60 upgrade fee a year. Each membership includes one free Household Card. May be subject to sales tax. Costco accepts all Visa® cards, as well as cash, checks, debit/ATM cards, EBT and Costco Shop Cards. Departments and product selection may vary.)

Here is my review of Costco versus Boxed. Hint: Costco wins!

4. Urgent Care Clinic

You can visit your local urgent care clinic for cheap flu shots, too. For example, American Family Care, the nation’s largest urgent care chain, has flu shots available for walk-in appointments.

On Veterans Day, American Family Care was offering veterans free flu shots. This is good to know if you are a veteran or have a family member who is one. Hopefully, they’ll offer the same this year.

5. Free Prescription Drug Card

Even with insurance my prescriptions can cost a bundle. I’ve noticed that many supermarket pharmacies have started prescription drug card programs to help ease the financial burden of prescription drugs.

One company offers a no-strings-attached free prescription drug card, which can help you get cheap flu shots. Called BuzzRX (formerly Watertree Health) the company provides access to affordable prescription drug coverage through their free prescription drug card. They say prices can be up to 75% lower than regular pharmacy prices.

6. State, County and Local Free Flu Shot Clinics

Every year Departments of Health roll out free flu shot clinics. Check the Department of Health in your state or county to see if/when there might be an upcoming flu shot clinic. This should help you find free flu shots near you and answer your question, “How do I find a free flu shot clinic near me?”.

7. Colleges and Universities

Got a kid in college? Send him or her to health services for a flu shot. Chances are it is free. It’s a great way for students to get a flu shot.

If you live near a college or university, that institution may extend its free and cheap flu shot offers to those in the neighborhood.

Finally, if you’re a university student who still needs a COVID vaccine, you may be able to get freebies for getting vaccinated. For example, Meijer’s stores are offering a $10 coupon to students who get their first COVID shot by September 30th. They can redeem that coupon within 28 days, in store, so says this Supermarket News article.

8. Your Employer May Offer a Free or Cheap Flu Shot

Employers know it is good business sense to encourage their employees not to get sick. That’s why so many offer free flu shots.

First, ask your human resources department if your company is having flu shot clinics this year. Next, find out where those clinics will be held. You may have to travel to a different company location, but it will be worth the trip. Finally, find out if you need to make an appointment for your shot or if you can just walk in.

9. Health Systems and Hospitals

Sometimes hospitals or health systems will offer walk-in flu shot clinics. Many of these health systems have magazines that they mail to members or at least residents living close by.

These magazines should include a list of any upcoming flu shot clinics. Look in the section where these magazines often list free classes or workshops that they offer.

You may also look in your email inbox for alerts or your health portal that you use to communicate with your doctor. My local health system is having a free drive-through flu shot clinic next month, which I heard about through a push notification.

10. Union Organizations

A friend of mine is an actress in New York City and, as such, is a member of the Actors’ Equity, a union. Her union qualifies her for a free flu shot each year.

So if you or a family member has a union membership, check with your union rep about any upcoming flu shot clinics.

11. Flu Shots at the Airport

Are you going out of town? Did you forgot to get your flu shot? You may be in luck as a handful of U.S. airports have medical clinics on site (or close nearby) that offer immunizations. Some of these airports are in San Francisco, New York City, Nashville, Atlanta and Chicago.

Vaccine incentives for this year

Some of the retailers and organizations I’ve mentioned here offering cheap flu shots have rewards and incentives. However, many have introduced COVID vaccine incentives this year, too.

Here are some ways you can benefit, financially, from getting your vaccine or other incentives you should know about. They are listed in alphabetical order by company name.

  • Harris Teeter and Lyft: When you sign up to get your COVID vaccine at a Harris Teeter pharmacy in certain Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington, D.C. locations, you’ll get a coupon code to cover $12 of a Lyft ride to your shot.
  • Kroger and Lyft: Register to get a COVID vaccine at a Kroger pharmacy, and you’ll get a coupon code good for $12 to use on Lyft. So, you get a free ride to your shot.
  • Meijer: College students can get a $10 coupon to the store if they get their first COVID shot by September 30th. They can redeem that coupon for up to 28 days.
  • Target: Like with its flu shot incentives, Target is give a $5 off coupon for those who get a COVID vaccine at CVS inside Target.

If I’ve missed any vaccine incentives that you, yourself, were able to get, or you represent a retailer or organization offering them, please let me know.

Overall thoughts on free flu shots this year

Now that we’ve outlined where you can go for a free or cheap flu shot, let’s go over good hygiene that could help keep you from getting sick in the first place. This is likely advice you’ve been hearing since last year

free cheap flu shots 2016

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