We're still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn't mean you can ignore flu season. It's more important than ever that you get a flu shot if you're able to in order to protect yourself and others and ease the burden on the healthcare system. Experts typically recommend getting the flu shot as early as September, before the virus begins to spread, although it's better to get one late in the season than not at all. Fortunately, no matter what kind of crazy schedule you're dealing with this fall, there are plenty of locations you can pop into for a flu shot without an appointment — and without a copay, too.
This year more than ever, the idea of making a trip to a clinic or doctor's office just for a quick flu shot sounds unappealing and even risky, especially depending on the infection rate for COVID-19 in your area. Instead, you might try stopping by a retail location when you head out on your next grocery or supply run, where you can get your yearly vaccine at little or no cost and without having to make an extra trip. We've compiled a list of the easiest places you can stop by for a free flu shot this year. Just be sure to check on availability and any age or COVID-19-related restrictions before you go.
- Walgreens: Walgreens offers flu shots that are free with most insurance at its pharmacies. Plus, if you get a flu shot before Sept. 12, you can get a coupon for $5 off your next purchase of $15 or more. Find the location nearest you here to schedule an appointment, or just walk in.
- Rite Aid: Rite Aid has free flu shots for most insurance plans, and you can walk right in without making an appointment. You can find your closest location here.
- CVS/Target: The pharmacy chain offers flu shots that are free with most insurance, along with an offer for $5 off a $20 purchase. You can make an appointment or stop by any CVS location, or pop into one of its Minute Clinics inside of Target stores — find your location here.
- Walmart: You can get a quick and easy free flu shot at Walmart's in-store pharmacies with most insurance coverage. Find the store nearest you here.
- Sam's Club: Sam's Club offers free flu shots under most insurance plans, and you aren't even required to have a club membership to go to its pharmacy. You can find the location in your area here.
- Costco: You can get a flu shot for free with most insurance plans at Costco, and its pharmacy doesn't require a Costco membership. You can find the warehouse nearest you here — just be sure to check that the location has an open pharmacy before you go!
- Kroger: You can typically get a flu shot for free at any Kroger Pharmacy, as long as you have some form of insurance. Find the location nearest to you here.
- Safeway: Safeway does flu shots for free under most insurance plans, plus a coupon for 10 percent off your next grocery order. This year, it's also screening for COVID-19 symptoms before immunizations. Locate the store nearest you here.
- Food Lion: Pharmacies inside Food Lion locations offer flu shots for free with most insurances, no appointment needed. You can find the location nearest you here.
- Publix Super Markets: The in-store pharmacies at Publix grocery stores offer free flu shots to most people with insurance. Find your closest location here.
- Stop & Shop/Giant/Martin's: The pharmacy locations inside Stop & Shop, Giant, and Martin's supermarkets offer free flu shots with most insurance coverage. You can find the location nearest to you here for Stop & Shop, Giant, and Martin's, and make sure the location near you has the vaccine in stock.