Last year's flu season may have seemed pretty mild, as mask-wearing and social distancing helped to reduce the spread of both flu and COVID-19. But with flu season on the horizon again, and many hospitals already overwhelmed by the Delta variant, we need to be especially vigilant this year — and that means getting your flu shot! Experts recommend getting the flu vaccine as early as possible, starting in September, before the virus begins to spread in the fall and winter. Even if you're late to the party, though, it's better to get the shot than skip it altogether.
None of us want to spend more time in a clinic or doctor's office than we need to, which is why a quick, easy, and free flu shot at a retail location might be your best bet. A number of pharmacies, box stores, and supermarkets offer in-store flu shots for free for most people. In many cases, you don't even need an appointment. For your convenience, we've put together a list of some popular locations offering free flu shots this year. Just remember to check availability at your location before heading out!
- Walgreens: Walgreens offers flu shots free with most insurance at its pharmacies across the country. Find the location nearest you here to schedule an appointment, or walk in whenever.
- CVS/Target: CVS has flu shots that are free with most insurance plans. You can make an appointment ahead of time or stop in any CVS location. You also can get your flu shot at one of the Minute Clinics inside of Target stores — find your nearest location here.
- Rite Aid: The pharmacy chain offers free flu shots for most insurance plans, and it's easy to just walk in to get one — no appointment necessary. You can find a location near you here.
- Costco: You can get a flu shot for free with most insurance plans at Costco, even if you're not a member. The store's pharmacy doesn't require a Costco membership! Find the warehouse nearest you here — but make sure the location you choose has a current, open pharmacy department.
- Sam's Club: Sam's Club offers free flu shots under most insurance plans, and, like Costco, you aren't required to have a membership to use its pharmacy service. You can find your most convenient location here.
- Walmart: Get your free flu shot this year at Walmart's in-store pharmacies, available under most insurance plans. You can find the store nearest you here.
- Safeway: Safeway offers flu shots for free under most insurance plans, along with a coupon for 10 percent off your next grocery order (up to $200 in eligible states). Find the store in your area here.
- Kroger: It's super convenient to get flu shot at any Kroger Pharmacy (free under most insurance plans), and you can schedule ahead of time. Find the location closest to you here.
- Publix Super Markets: In-store pharmacies at Publix grocery stores have free flu shots available to most people with insurance. Find a location near you here.
- Food Lion: Pharmacy locations inside Food Lion stores offer flu shots for free with most insurance plans, without a hassle. You can find your nearest store here.
- Stop & Shop/Giant/Martin's: The pharmacies inside Stop & Shop, Giant, and Martin's supermarkets offer free flu shots with insurance coverage. You can find the location nearest to you here for Stop & Shop, Giant, and Martin's, depending on your region.