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Are flu shots free without insurance? Where can I get one? How much is it?

Without insurance, getting a free flu shot is not easy. We took a look at ways to reduce the cost of the vaccine or get a free shot.

Update:
KEY BISCAYNE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 03: Enbal Sabag, a Nurse Practitioner, wears personal protection equipment as she administers a flu vaccination to Noel Janzen at the CVS pharmacy and MinuteClinic on September 03, 2020 in Key Biscayne, Florida. Flu shots
JOE RAEDLEAFP

Covid-19 vaccines, including the updated bi-variant booster, remain free across the US for all who want a shot.

As for flu shots, health insurance providers are legally obligated to cover a yearly flu shot for free, meaning that no co-payment can be required to receive it. However, for those without insurance, finding a free option can be very difficult.

Most public health experts recommend getting a flu shot before the end of October when the infections tend to rise. Since flu season runs through the spring, getting a shot can still protect you, especially this year when case numbers have surpassed recent records.

How to get a flu shot if you don’t have insurance

Those who can pay for a flu shot out of pocket can head sign up for an appointment at most pharmacies that administer flu shots. According to Good Rx, the price tag associated with the jab can range from $25 to $110, depending on the location. Good Rx keeps an updated list of all major US pharmacies, and the prices patients could expect to pay for a flu shot, should they choose to front the cost themself.

For those looking for a free or reduced-cost option, you should look at the Department of Public Health website for your state.

In Washington DC, residents have access to free flu shots and other supplies that can help to keep families healthy this winter, including KN95 masks and rapid antigen tests.

The state usually delegates the execution of vaccine programs to the county, some of which may charge a small fee.

For Instance, out in California in San Luis Obispo County, a $10 fee is charged to those who hope to get a flu shot, while others like Sacramento and San Diego counties offer them for free.

Be on the lookout for free vaccine clinics

Out in Shelby County, Tennessee, a free vaccine clinic will be open on Friday, 9 December, from 3 to 6 pm. Events like this take place all over the country, and you can contact your county health department to see if they have any events planned.

This makeshift landscape for vaccine access for uninsured people is one way the privatized healthcare system in the US does not encourage best practices in public health. Thousands could die because they become infected with the flu, and ensuring a larger percentage of the population is vaccinated is one way of preventing infections. But, so long as easy access to the vaccine remains an issue, the country will continue to see a higher mortality rate from the virus.

Can uninsured children get a free flu shot?

Yes. Children with parents or guardians who do not have health insurance may be able to get their children vaccinated for free as a part of the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program. Those interested in vaccinating their children through the program should contact the VCP coordinator for their state, the information for which can be found on the CDC website.