Where To Get a Free Flu Shot—With or Without Insurance

You can get free flu shots without insurance through a healthcare provider, urgent care center, job, school, pharmacy, or grocery store.

Key Takeaways

  • Typically, the flu shot lasts about six months. Also, the flu shot changes yearly to protect against different virus strains.
  • You'll need a new flu shot yearly to help protect you against the virus.
  • You can get free flu shots without insurance at many places like a healthcare provider, urgent care center, job, school, pharmacy, or grocery store. Check with those places to see if they offer free flu shots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone age six months and older (with just a few exceptions) should get a flu shot before the end of October of each year. Flu season typically begins in October and starts to peak in December. However, developing full immunity from the shot takes several weeks.

Getty Images

How Long Does the Flu Shot Last?

Once you get that flu shot, it'll last you about six months, Vanessa Raabe, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone Health, told Health. 

So, you'll need a new flu show yearly to protect you during flu season. Plus, the CDC says that the flu vaccine changes from year to year. Each year, scientists try to predict what strains of the virus will be dominant.

You can technically still get the flu shot well into flu season (like, if you forgot about it until January). Still, getting your flu shot right away is still wise. For most people, getting a flu shot takes less than a minute and can be totally free. That's right, with most health insurance, a flu vaccine costs exactly zero bucks.

Where Can You Get the Flu Shot?

If you don't have health insurance, there are still ways to get the flu shot for free.

If worse comes to worst and you have to pay out of pocket, the vaccine generally costs anywhere from $20 to $85, depending on where you go and what kind of vaccine you get. The flu shots made specifically for people age 65 and over, for instance, are more expensive than others. Though, Medicare Part B fully covers the senior vaccines.

Check with places where you're enrolled in some kind of loyalty program to see if you might be eligible for a discount. Walgreens, for example, gives 20% off the retail price of flu shots to those enrolled in their Prescription Savings Club.

Also, some places offer drive-through flu shots, including community clinics, major hospital networks, and even grocery chains.

To help you out, Health rounded up all the places where you can get a free flu shot with or without insurance. Many places welcome walk-ins. Still, it's smart to go online or call first to see if you need an appointment

Your Primary Care Provider

If you're enrolled in a health insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or have almost any private plan, your health insurance will cover the cost of the flu shot. That's right, no copayment for your appointment, just protection from the flu whether you've hit your yearly deductible yet or not.

Urgent Care Centers

Can't make it to your regular healthcare provider because of work or personal commitments? Check with local urgent care centers. 

Many urgent care centers are open after hours and on weekends. Some centers will provide flu shots free if you have insurance. Call them ahead of time to make sure the shots are available at the center you choose.

Your Job

Many companies offer free flu shots on-site, often without insurance. Or companies might provide vouchers you can take to local pharmacies. If you haven't heard anything about those offers from your employer, check with human resources—they'll tell you what's up.

Your University

Some research shows that college students are particularly likely to skip out on getting vaccinated. For example, a 2017 Harris Poll conducted on behalf of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases found fewer than half of college students regularly get the flu shot.

So, if you're still in school, head to your campus health center, where you can often score the flu shot.

Local Pharmacies

Many independent pharmacies and almost all large national pharmacy chains like Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid offer no-cost flu shots for people with most health insurance plans. When you get a flu shot, some pharmacies give you a coupon good for a discount on a purchase at the store. 


Most of the country's large grocery store chains, including Stop & Shop, Kroger, and Safeway, have pharmacies on the premises that offer free flu shots with most health insurance plans. 

Even stores without pharmacies may sponsor pop-up flu shot clinics on-site. You can also grab a flu shot when you're making your weekly bulk grocery run to Sam's Club or Costco.

Local Health Departments, Community Centers, or Religious Sites

Many county health departments offer free flu shots during flu season—with or without insurance. Contact your county's health department to see if you can benefit from the service. 

Even if you don't have health insurance (as about 10% of Americans under age 64 don't), you may be able to get the flu shot for no cost through local churches and synagogues, free clinics, and community centers.

A Quick Review

The flu vaccine is key to protecting you and others against the seasonal flu virus. Whether you have insurance, the flu vaccine is likely available at no cost to you through a healthcare provider, urgent care center, job, school, pharmacy, or grocery store, among other places. 

Was this page helpful?
Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key facts about the flu vaccine.

  2. Walgreens. Prescription savings club can lower the price of keeping you well.

  3. Department of Health & Human Services. Will the Affordable Care Act cover my flu shot?.

  4. National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. National survey suggests a combination of education, access, and incentives may help increase flu vaccination on college campuses.

  5. Kaiser Family Foundation. Uninsured.

Related Articles