How Much Does a Flu Shot Cost?

Written by: Staff

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, describes a sickness which stems from a few different viruses.  According to, the most common symptoms of the flu may include “fever, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue.”  The flu is also sometimes accompanied by vomiting.  The seasonal flu is the most common type of flu and is usually spread between late fall and early spring.  It is extremely contagious, but can be avoided through hand-washing and sanitizing.  People have some natural immunity to it, but a flu shot can increase your chances of staying flu-free.

Jefferson City Medical Group could help by KOMUnews, on Flickr
Jefferson City Medical Group could help” (CC BY 2.0) by  KOMUnews

How much does the flu shot cost?

Some doctor’s offices offer the flu shot for children and adults.  This flu shot may be covered under your insurance policy and therefore may be free.  If it is not covered, the cost will usually be between $15 and $40 at a local clinic such as CVS.

A doctor’s office can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 since you’ll be charged an initial office exam.

Independent pharmacies usually offer the flu shot on a walk-in basis.  For example, Walgreens offers the flu shot for $24.99 or FluMist nasal spray for $29.99.  Other pharmacies such as CVS and Rite Aid offer the flu shot for the same price.

A grocery store like Publix offers flu shots for $30.  They note that Medicare B and other insurance plans could be accepted.

Check with your insurance company as many insurance companies will cover this shot as it’s deemed as a preventative expense.  Check with your insurance company to get more information in regards to co-pays and deductibles.  Even with health insurance, there’s a good chance that the co-pay will hover around $5 to $15.

Those with Medicare can get the shot for free.  Check with your Medicare insurance policy to get more information.  Older seniors will also find that many local senior centers will offer shots for $15 to $40 per shot.  Some think that these centers are only limited to those who are over 55 but this isn’t always the case.

RetailerCost Range
Rite Aid$33
Sam's Club$14
Wal Mart$28

Flu shot overview

The flu shot is generally injected into the patient’s arm, and it should cover the three basic strains of the flu virus as defined by the CDC.  This shot will contain the three strains of the inactive virus.  It will take about two weeks for the shot to become effective.

MedicineNet offers information regarding who should and should not get the flu vaccine as well as the possible side effects of the flu vaccine.

What are the extra costs?

The flu shot is covered by Medicare; however, if the doctor’s office or pharmacy charges more for the flu shot than Medicare allows, the patient will be charged.  Check with Medicare for the exact amount allowed for the flu shot before making your appointment.

Additional shots may be required for those that are over the age of 65.  It’s best to consult with your doctor to get more information in regards to what’s best for your situation as everyone will vary.

How can I save money?

The best way to save money is to make an appointment for an insurance-approved doctor or pharmacy so that your flu shot will be covered.

FluMist is sometimes not covered because it costs more and is not a necessity.  The flu shot, while more uncomfortable, will cost less.

Local pharmacies can often have discounts or promotions where customers can take advantage of the shot for a discount.

Warehouse clubs such as Sam’s Club and Costco often offer the shot during certain times of the month.  Consult with the pharmacy to get more information on when it’s going to be offered as well as what it’s going to cost.

Veterans can get the flu shot for free if they head to their local VA hospital.  For those over the age of 65, check with a local senior center as well to see what kind they can offer.

Those that meet certain income requirements will find that many programs and clinics in the local area may offer shots for next to nothing.  While most do it for free, they don’t mind accepting a small donation.

Larger companies may often hold days where the whole workforce can get their shots free or for a small discount.  Check with your employer to see what kind of options are available for you.

Check with your local health department to see if any free flu shots are available.

How to compare prices:

The first thing you should do is call your insurance provider and ask about coverage for the flu shot.  If it is covered, make an appointment with your regular doctor.  Some insurance policies will not cover the flu shot if it is given at a pharmacy or health clinic.

If your insurance does not cover the cost of a flu shot, call around to your local pharmacies and ask about flu shots prices.  FindAFluShot can help you find a clinic in your area.

Flu shot FAQs

Do I need a shot every year?
Yes.  Each year, Influenza viruses will change.  On an annual basis, a new vaccine will be administered.  Over time, your antibodies will develop to the vaccine over time.

When is the best time to get a flu shot?
Vaccinations will usually begin in May and run until the flu season ends, which is around late May.

Will I get the flu?
Rumors swirl that you can get the flu, but this isn’t true.  The vaccine is created by inactive viruses that can’t cause an illness.  You can still get the flu outside of the shot.

Is it effective?
Studies have shown that this vaccine has been 75 percent effective.

Who should get it?
It’s recommended that anyone over the age of six months should consider the shot.  Those who are at high-risk should consider the shot, too.  High-risk patients include children younger than five, seniors over 65, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions.

What are the side effects?
Some side effects may include soreness or a low fever.

Why does your arm hurt after a flu shot?
The vaccines are injection into the deltoid, which is the muscular part of the arm.  In this area, inflammation will occur, followed by a slight reaction.

Is there mercury in flu shots?
According to, vaccines aren’t Thimerosal-free.  Most, if not all, vaccines still contain a trace.

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Average Reported Cost: $39

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  1. Trudi (Dallas,  Oregon) paid $39 and said:

    $39 flu shot at WalMart, Rite Aid, Safeway in my area.l

    Was it worth it? Yes

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