Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious sickness that affects the respiratory system—the nose, throat, and lungs—caused by influenza viruses. You can get the flu any time of year, but it’s most common during peak flu season: between December and March.
On average, 8% of the United States population gets the flu virus during flu season, between 140,000 and 960,000 people are hospitalized for complications from the flu, and anywhere from 12,000 to 79,000 die from the flu each year according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The good news? You can avoid illness by getting an influenza vaccine, or “flu shot,” every year. And this year, with COVID-19 continuing to spread at the same time, it’s more important than ever to get the flu shot to protect your immune system. It’s the most effective way to prevent the flu, according to the CDC. And with these tips, the flu shot doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many ways to get discounted or free flu shots in your community.
RELATED: Can pregnant women get a flu shot?
How much is the flu shot without insurance?
The CDC recommends any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine without preference for one over the other, including injectable vaccines and nasal spray vaccines. Without health insurance, the price typically ranges from $30-$40 for the Fluzone quadrivalent vaccine.
Where can I get free flu shots near me?
It’s best to get a flu shot before the end of October. It can still be beneficial to receive later in the season, but you have a higher chance of being exposed before the shot can become effective. In other words, don’t wait too long! Check the list below, and go get one ASAP to avoid getting sick. You can also use Vaccine Finder (vaccinefinder.org) to locate a pharmacy, healthcare provider, health department, or clinic offering the flu shot near you.
Pharmacies and drugstores
Lots of local pharmacies—even within grocery or big box stores—offer free flu shots for people with insurance. Some even add an additional incentive, such as a store coupon with your immunization.
CVS (and CVS within Target stores)
CVS Pharmacy offers no-cost flu shots with most insurance plans, along with a $5 coupon to use on qualifying purchases in the store to encourage patrons to get vaccinated.
Kinney Drugs offers free flu shots with most insurance plans.
Get your flu shot at H-E-B with no appointment required, and flexible payment plans if it’s not covered by your insurance.
Meijer offers a wide range of CDC-recommended vaccinations, including the annual flu vaccine. Just bring your insurance information.
Rite Aid doesn’t require an appointment, and doesn’t charge for the vaccine if your insurance covers it.
Get a flu shot for $0 copay with most insurance companies.
With any covered insurance plan, or VA-enrollment, flu shots are no cost to you at Walgreens. You can also receive a free vaccine at Walgreens—regardless of your insurance status. SingleCare has secured a limited number of free vaccine vouchers at the pharmacy chain. You can claim one by calling your local 211 starting early September (while supplies last).
Walmart pharmacies offer free flu vaccines with participating insurance plans.
No prescription or appointment needed. Just walk in, and get your flu shot for free with most insurance plans.
Our 2020 flu shot survey found that the majority of people who get vaccinated, get their flu shot at their doctor’s office. If you have insurance—including Medicare and Medicaid—the flu shot is often completely covered with no out-of-pocket cost if your primary care doctor is in-network. Some offices have open vaccination hours at the beginning or end of the business day with no extra charge. At other healthcare providers, you will have to schedule an appointment and—depending on your coverage—pay a copay for the visit. Check with your insurance and doctor’s office to understand the costs you could incur. When you call, make sure they have the current year’s flu vaccine, in the form and dose you need, in stock.
Urgent care centers
It can be hard to make it to the doctor’s office during normal business hours. If you can’t make it between 9 to 5, urgent care clinics offer extended hours. And many have walk-in slots for free flu shots, if you have insurance. Just like your doctor’s office, call ahead to make sure you won’t run into any surprise fees.
Every year, workers across the U.S. miss approximately 111 million workdays from the flu, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). It’s common for corporate offices to host free vaccine days to keep their employees from getting sick, and offset some of the $7 billion in estimated annual costs from paid time off and lost productivity. Ask your human resources department to see what’s available—but be aware that in 2021, companies may not offer this if most employees are working remotely.
Local government agencies
City or county health departments typically offer free flu shots for higher risk populations, like young children or senior citizens, either in the form of vouchers for uninsured patients or via free flu shot clinics that accept insurance. Some have extended coverage to all residents to protect public health. Check your local county’s website for details.
A national survey found that less than half of college students get the flu vaccination, and the small living spaces and shared bathrooms in dorms put them at risk for catching it easily. College health centers commonly offer the vaccine to (often broke) students for free to stave off a campus epidemic.
How to get a discount on your flu shot
If you can’t secure a free flu shot, make sure to compare prices at singlecare.com before choosing where to get your jab. You can find the least expensive location near you—plus, you’ll see coupons to save on flu shots, flu medications, and other prescriptions you need to get you through cold and flu season.
If it’s your first time using your SingleCare card, you can use a coupon for an additional $5 off the price of the following brands.
|Brand name||Get coupon|
|FluMist||Get Rx card|
You can use our free flu shot coupons for the whole family. SingleCare is accepted at thousands of pharmacies including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and more. Find a pharmacy near you that accepts SingleCare coupons here.