This time of year millions of consumers are encouraged to get the flu shot. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season. It’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated. Those people include the following: people who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu, people who have medical conditions including asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease, pregnant woman and people who are 65+.
If you don’t have health insurance, or if your health insurance does not cover the flu shot, it helps to know how to shop around to find the best value. Many people pay out of pocket for a flu shot and prices for this vaccination can range from $15 to more than $50 if you include the cost of an office visit.
In terms of quality, safety and effectiveness, there is no difference between immunizations at a store clinic or a doctor s office. It’s perfectly safe, says Jim Turner, the executive director for the Department of Student Health at the University of Virginia and a past president of the American College Health Association. They are buying the same vaccine doctors’ offices buy. Retailer clinics must also follow state regulations on administering vaccines.L NAME
Even for consumers who get their shots free with insurance coverage, it still pays to shop around for the best flu shot promotions because some of them are far more generous than others.
Here’s a sampling of flu shot prices and promotions and where consumers can get flu shots.FastMed Urgent Care
- $15. FastMed has several locations in the Triangle, including Apex, Cary, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina and Wake Forest.
Harris Teeter - $24.95. Through Dec. 31, customers getting flu shots receive coupons for $5 in free groceries. The coupon is good through Jan. 7. And, if you’re a new Harris Teeter pharmacy customer, you’ll receive a $20 grocery credit loaded to your loyalty card.Kroger
- $25. A recently expired coupon on their website shaved $15 off the price but these digital coupon offers are frequently reissued so it’s well worth checking.
Rite Aid - $29.99. Customers receive coupon booklets with savings valued at $100 and 25 Wellness+ points that can be applied toward future shopping perks.Wake County Human Services
- $30. However, the shots are free to many groups of people, including uninsured pregnant women, family members and caregivers of infants under six months of age, students attending any college or university in North Carolina, and children who qualify for the federal government’s Vaccines for Children Program. Weekly clinics are held at the Public Health Center at 10 Sunnybrook Road in Raleigh. Additional clinics are scheduled throughout the county. Go to wakegov.com/humanservices for more information.CVS
- $31.99. Customers getting flu shots receive 20 percent savings passes valid on regular-price merchandise.Walgreens
- $31.99. Special promotion offered through Oct. 31, customers getting flu shots receive 1,500 Balance Points, which is equal to a $1.50 credit in Walgreens’ new loyalty card program.Corporations
- Corporations often offer their employees flu shots. Business would rather keep employees at work rather than out sick, so offering a flu shot can be a cost saver. Costs range from free to being covered by insurance. Employers often pay an administration fee to have the shots given. Cash payments usually range between $20 and $30.Doctor's offices
- Many often flu shots are given in your local doctor's office. If you have insurance, you will make a co-payment for your appointment. Seasonal flu shots are covered by most insurance policies. If paying cash, a doctor's visit can cost $20 to $200, plus the cost of the shot, which can be $20 to $30.Retail outlets
- Big-box retailers or retail pharmacies also offer flu shots in the early fall. Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Rite Aid Pharmacy and CVS/Pharmacy all offer clinics at certain dates that are subject to change and vary according to location. Check the stores' individual websites for times and locations. Insurance covers the seasonal flu. Cash payments range from $20 to $40.Senior Facilities
- In many communities, local departments of public health offer flu shots to senior citizens. People 65 and older make up 90 percent of deaths from the flu, so health officials often ask seniors to get vaccinated. Medicare Part B covers the cost of a seasonal flu shot for seniors.Public Facilities
- Sometimes flu shots are offered in public locations such as libraries or YMCAs or other public-access facilities in order to reach large segments of the community. These are often sponsored by a local charity or by a public health outlet and usually take cash payments to cover the cost of the shot.Schools, Colleges and Universities
- Colleges and universities often ask students, staff and teachers to get vaccinated. Students in particular often share living spaces and can easily infect one another. Many colleges and universities require students to carry insurance, which will cover the cost of the flu shot.