With National Influenza Vaccination Week going on Dec. 6-12, now is the time to line up for your annual flu shot. Peak time for flu in the United States generally falls in January or February, but activity can erupt as early as October, and it takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to develop the necessary antibodies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of six months get a dose of the vaccine. This can be costly for an entire family, especially without health insurance coverage.
To find the cheapest source for flu shots, Cheapism checked prices at six of the country's largest pharmacy chains (based on 2014 revenue from prescriptions); warehouse clubs Costco and Sam's Club, which are known for low prices and allow non-members to use their pharmacies; and a doctor's office in Columbus, Ohio. Some employers organize a flu-shot day for employees and spouses, with the cost dependent on your insurance and employer.
Price Breakdown.For self-pay, Costco and Sam's Club are the cheapest: $14.99 for members and non-members alike. Target and Walmart price the standard injection about the same, at $24.99 and $25, respectively. Kroger is charging $30 this year, while Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens cluster on the high end, at $31.99. Rite Aid is offering a $5 discount for National Influenza Vaccination Week, bringing the price down to $26.99 through Dec. 12. Prices at doctors' offices vary widely. Last year a local physician quoted $82.70 for the flu vaccine. This year the going rate is $30.
($26.99 through Dec. 12)