Vitality

Free Flu Shots 2016: Where To Get An Influenza Vaccine For Free

Flu season will be here sooner than later. And in light of this year’s vaccine recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that ought to mean one thing: Most every person over the age of six months should be getting their annual flu shot.

Unfortunately, it’s estimated that during any given year, less than half of all Americans actually go out and get the jab. That reluctance not only leads to sick days and piled up Kleenex, but contributes to the thousands of flu-related deaths seen annually.

For the benefit of those willing but unsure about the vaccine’s cost or availability, let’s take a quick look at some of the easiest places to get a free flu shot.

Flu vaccination Here's where to get your free flu shot. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Your Primary Care Doctor

Under the Affordable Care Act, flu vaccines must be made available free of charge to most anyone with insurance. And the most surefire way to get one is to visit your own doctor or nearest health clinic. The shot will be free as long as the provider is covered by your plan.

Big Box Pharmacies

For those less inclined to step into a waiting room or who unfortunately are still without insurance, most large pharmacy chains have begun to provide vaccines on the go.

Though insurance is still needed to obtain a free vaccine, Costco usually offers the best bargain for the uninsured, charging only $15 dollars for the seasonal shot. And while many chains have gotten in on the action, there are state to state differences in the selection of vaccines available as well as age eligibility. So be sure to check your individual state’s laws.

Local Health Departments

Many local health departments offer flu shot programs for the disadvantaged. While these shots are most often given to the very young and old, i.e., the most high-risk groups, some programs are beginning to offer to everyone else as well. Check your own local county’s policies and call ahead to be sure.

Your Employer

Increasingly, employers are hosting their own flu shot clinics to get their workers vaccinated. And for good reason — it’s estimated that the flu costs the economy $7 billion in sick days and lost productivity annually.

Insurance companies often encourage these clinics for businesses with 50 or more employees, with no charge for members. If that sounds like your workplace, ask if they’ve got one coming up.

Barring all that, you can turn to the government’s own Vaccine Finder in case you’re still lost for places to get a shot. Just pop in your zip code and voila. 

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