SUMMARY: How much does a flu shot cost? Prices seem to change, but recent info suggests it was $31.99 at Walgreen’s, and $14.99 at Costco for a “trivalent shot”– and as much as $159.84 in some cases.
Flu shot costs are all over the map. For some of us it doesn’t matter: they’re covered by insurance or “free at work” or the co-pay is low. For others it matters a lot: imagine a family of five who’s uninsured.
This map from flushot.healthmap.org shows provider locations and lists some prices. Note: You may need to put in a zip code to get results.
We’re both reporting prices from providers, and also crowdsourcing prices from you, our communities. Find prices with the big-box stores on this page, and then, when you’ve gotten your shot, tell us how much it cost. We’re building a community-created guide to costs. So far, the lowest is $14.99, and the highest is $159.84. What we’ve learned, and how you can contribute: Here’s KQED in San Francisco; here’s KPCC in Los Angeles.
Not every place has a price on this map; for most, you get the location from this map, and then need to click through to the site to search for a price. Links for big-box stores’ pricing pages are below.
Target, for example, has started listing flu shot costs on this page, but they weren’t on the map recently. Then they came back — but only on the Target website, not on the map. Currently prices range from $24.99 to $49.99 (see below; still true, September 2015).
Editor’s note: Call before you go and check prices and kinds of shots. This post has been updated to reflect the fact that many of the prices that were previously listed on this map have vanished, and the marketing on provider web sites has also changed from week to week.
The FlushotHealthMap vaccine finder project manager, Jane Huston, told us that the information is uploaded to the map by providers, and that the price field is optional. In 2013, many listed prices; now, few list prices. So people seeking prices need to inquire in advance.
Huston said Wal-Mart stores list prices. In Lincoln, Neb., for example, the Wal-Mart lists these prices: flu nasal spray, $32.88; high-dose flu shot, $48; quadrivalent flu shot, $30; trivalent flu shot, $25. University Health Center in Lincoln lists these prices: flu nasal spray, $36; trivalent flu shot, $30. These prices seem to be the same nationwide at Wal-Mart stores.
Here’s a national Wal-Mart vaccine pricing page, showing a $25 shot.
In Dallas, Texas, no providers listed prices when we looked, but in Houston the Kroger Pharmacy had these prices: high-dose flu shot, $60; trivalent flu shot, $28. Wal-Mart also listed the same prices as above, but no other providers did.
Costco is listing a $14.99 price on this immunization page (still true, Feb. 2016).
Walgreen’s listed these prices on this immunization page: flu ages 2+, $31.99;
flu nasal spray, ages 2–49, $39.99; Fluzone high-dose, ages 65+, $59.99; Flu (Fluarix) 3+, $39.99 (Updated Feb. 2016).
Then when we went back to check (Oct. 19, 2014), it was harder to find this page from the front page of the site.
At one point, one of the big box stores had a price list that looked like this. Prices change, and this page is no longer active (February 2016).
- original $24.99, the original flu vaccination is an intramuscular shot.
- quadrivalent, $31.99, this is your standard flu vaccine plus an additional common flu strain.
- nasal mist, $31.99, “Get all the protection with none of the pinch. No needle. No flu. No sweat.”
- high dosage, $49.99, “specially formulated to protect guests who are 65+.”
- preservative-free, $24.99, “smart choice for children and pregnant women, available in all vaccine types.”
While it wasn’t obvious where to find flu shot prices for cash customers on, for example, the CVS site, it did say that they’re free for most insured people. In other words, ask first.
Here’s a CVS price list, found by clicking around (October 2015); seasonal flu shots are $31.99 as of this writing.
We heard $70 from one source, in The Des Moines Register.
Most vaccines should be covered under insurance policies governed by the Affordable Care Act, as preventive medicine. Here’s a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control.
How much did your flu shot cost? Let us know at info (at) clearhealthcosts (dot) com.