How Much Does a Flu Shot Cost?

Last Updated on March 15, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

It’s flu season again. Is it time for your annual flu shot? Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and loved ones from the misery of influenza. But what if you don’t have insurance to cover the cost of the flu vaccine?

The good news is you can still get a flu shot for little or no cost, even without health insurance. This article explains where and how to get a free or low-cost flu shot without insurance. Read on to learn the smart ways to get vaccinated against the flu this year.


  • The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccine for maximum protection.
  • With insurance, flu shots cost $30-$75 depending on where you go. Without insurance, expect to pay around $40 at pharmacies.
  • Many pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Kroger offer free flu shots with membership programs.
  • Check with your county health department, community clinics, employer, and local retailers for free and discounted flu vaccines.
  • Doctors may have free flu shot samples, and there are programs to provide free children’s flu vaccines for the uninsured.
  • You cannot get influenza from the flu shot, but may experience minor immune response side effects.
  • Take advantage of the many options to get a free or cheap flu shot this season, even without insurance. Vaccination is your best line of defense against the flu.

How Much Does a Flu Shot Cost?

The flu vaccine isn’t terribly expensive, even if you pay full price out-of-pocket. Typical costs are:

  • Doctor’s office or health clinic – $30-$75
  • Retail pharmacy – $40-$60
  • Grocery store or pharmacy clinic – $40-$50
  • Workplace clinic – Free to $30
  • Walk-in clinic – $25-$50

Flu shot prices can vary based on type – regular vs. high-dose for seniors, quadrivalent, etc. But in general, expect to pay around $40 if you lack insurance.

According to Mira, the CDC private sector cost for a quadrivalent flu shot ranges from $16.94 to $25.76. The out-of-pocket cost for a flu shot is between $20 and $70, but the price will vary depending on the type of flu vaccine you receive.

GoodRx notes that the cost of a flu shot without insurance typically ranges from about $25 to $90 out of pocket, depending on the type of shot you need. Free and low-cost flu vaccines may be available from local health centers and state health departments.

The CDC Vaccine Price List shows the CDC cost and private sector cost for different flu vaccines, such as Afluria® Quadrivalent and FluMist® Quadrivalent.

Walgreens offers flu shots at different prices, for example, $58.99 for a quadrivalent shot and $108.99 for those aged 65 and older.

Now let’s look at ways to get a flu shot for free or very cheap without coverage.

Why It’s Important to Get a Flu Shot

The first question is always – do I really need a flu shot? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone ages 6 months and older get vaccinated every flu season.

Here are the top reasons why the flu shot matters:

  • Prevents you from getting sick with influenza and spreading it to others
  • Protects against hospitalization from flu complications like pneumonia
  • Safeguards high-risk groups like babies, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses
  • Reduces work/school absences and flu-related doctor visits
  • Saves lives – thousands die each year from flu complications

So while the flu shot doesn’t offer 100% guaranteed protection, getting vaccinated is your best defense against this potentially serious respiratory illness.

Get a Free Flu Shot at Certain Pharmacies

Many pharmacies offer flu shots at no cost with a qualifying purchase or membership. For example:

  • Walgreens – Free with Walgreens Prescription Savings Club membership ($20 per year)
  • CVS – Free with ExtraCare rewards membership (free to join)
  • Rite Aid – Free for members of Rite Aid wellness+ rewards program (free membership)
  • Kroger – Free with Kroger Plus Card membership (free card)
  • Meijer – Free with mPerks rewards card (free to join)

Review pharmacy rewards programs you belong to – one likely offers a free seasonal flu vaccine.

Check for Free Flu Shots at Your Local Health Department

Every county health department offers low-cost or free flu vaccines each season. Call your local office or check their website for upcoming community flu shot clinics.

These mass vaccination events make getting a flu shot fast and easy. Walk-ins are welcome, no appointment is needed. And they often distribute free flu shot vouchers you can redeem at area pharmacies too.

You might also like our articles about the cost of Yellow Fever vaccines, rabies vaccines, or Shingles vaccines.

Visit Community Health Centers for Flu Shots

Community-based health centers provide essential medical services for the uninsured and underserved. Many offer free or discounted flu shots based on income.

Call clinics in your area like MedExpress, Patient First, CVS MinuteClinic, etc. and ask if they have a flu vaccine policy for uninsured patients. Or check online for pop-up influenza vaccination events.

Get Free Flu Shots at Work

Ask your employer if they offer free worksite flu shot clinics. Many invite pharmacies, health departments, or other providers to vaccinate employees at the office for free. Flu shot drives encourage participation and prevent flu outbreaks at work.

See If Any Nearby Stores Offer Free Flu Shots

Grocery stores, retailers, shopping malls, and other community locations often provide free flu shots too. For example:

  • Publix – Free flu shots with prescription transferred to their pharmacy
  • Harris Teeter – Free for VIC members with a filled prescription
  • ShopRite – Free vouchers and coupons for flu shots

Check weekly store ads and websites for special flu shot promotions.

Ask Your Doctor About Free Sample Flu Vaccines

Doctors often receive free samples of medications and vaccines, including flu shots, from pharmaceutical reps. Call your physician and explain you lack insurance but want to get vaccinated against influenza. Ask if they have any free sample flu vaccines or vouchers available.

How to Get the Flu Shot for Your Kids Without Insurance

Getting the Flu VaccineChildren and babies over 6 months old should get the flu vaccine too. Without insurance, where can you get them vaccinated affordably?

Options include:

  • County Health Department flu shot clinics
  • School vaccination programs
  • Community health centers and free clinics
  • Doctor’s offices – ask about free samples or payment plans
  • Retail pharmacies with free kid’s immunizations

Also research state Medicaid programs. Many cover free flu vaccines for lower-income children, even if not fully enrolled in Medicaid.

Can You Get the Flu from the Flu Shot?

A common flu shot myth is that the vaccine can actually give you influenza. However, the vaccine contains an inactivated flu virus that cannot transmit infection.

You may develop minor side effects like soreness, headache or low-grade fever after getting the flu shot. This is simply an immune response, not influenza. And it’s much milder than getting sick from the flu.

Make Sure to Get Your Flu Shot This Year

Don’t put off important flu vaccination just because you lack insurance. With all these options, you can find a free or low-cost flu shot.

Protect yourself and your family by getting vaccinated against the flu this season. Follow these tips to get your annual flu shot without breaking the bank.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *