Where to Find Free Flu Shots for Children

Girl has bandage on her arm after getting a vaccination

With up to 179 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine available this year, everyone should be able to get a flu vaccine. And that is good news, especially since the flu vaccine recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) continue to state that all persons 6 months and older should get a yearly flu shot.

Although the best time to figure out where your family will get a flu shot is before flu season really gets started, you can likely still find a flu shot if you need one.

Find a Flu Shot

A good supply of flu shots doesn't necessarily mean that every family will be able to get a flu vaccine for their kids, though, as flu shots aren't necessarily cheap.

Large numbers of kids without insurance and other family's without the money to cover doctor co-pays could make you think that a flu shot is too expensive this year.

If your kids get sick with the flu you may find that it is even more expensive, though, especially if you have to take time off work, not even considering any doctor or hospital expenses. There are places to get low-cost or free flu shots for kids, though.

Find Free Flu Shots

If you have health insurance for your kids, you might see if flu shots are covered and if any extra flu shot administration fees your doctor charges are also covered.

The flu vaccine is covered by most insurance plans that cover other childhood immunizations, including Medicaid.

For those families that need help getting a flu shot for their kids, some sources of free flu shots to consider might include:

  • Your local health department
  • A pediatrician that participates in the Vaccines for Children program
  • A local health clinic that gives other free or low-cost vaccines
  • A church-sponsored flu clinic
  • A school-based flu clinic

Keep in mind that some of these types of flu clinics may charge a small flu shot administration fee.

National pharmacies, including Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS, and many grocery store pharmacies, like at Kroger, Tom Thumb, and Walmart, can be another place to get low-cost flu shots for older kids. Many are giving flu shots to kids who are at least 8 years old for between $24 to $29.99, although Flumist and the newer quadrivalent flu vaccines are probably more expensive.

Free Flu Shots at Walgreens

Since 1999, Walgreens has given away vouchers for free flu shots to uninsured and underinsured people.

They have given away more than $40 million worth of vouchers for free flu shots to people who can't afford a flu shot since the program started.

The program continues this year, as they have been giving away $15 million worth of free flu shot vouchers.

Vouchers for the free Walgreens flu shots, which were available on a first come, first-served basis while supplies last, were given away at local health departments.

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  • Prevention and Control of Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, United States, 2015–16 Influenza Season, MMWR 2015, August 7, 2015 / 64(30);818-825