It will almost always be possible for you to get an influenza vaccination (flu shot), unless there’s a severe shortage, but it’s always a matter of finding where you must go to get a free flu vaccination. If you’re in an at-risk group, such as the elderly, you stand the best chance at getting a free flu vaccination. If you’re healthy and can afford it spending $20, I recommend that you leave the freebies for those less financially fortunate (such as the elderly on fixed income) and pay for your shot.
#1 Option: Your Employer
Your employer should be your first stop as many companies now offer flu shots to employees because it makes business sense. If you aren’t sure if your company offers something like this, ask your medical services department (if you have one) or your human resources department. If they don’t, you could recommend to them that they investigate the idea. In my short working life I’ve worked for two companies and both have offered a flu shot. Since everyone in the company generally gets the shot (free is a great incentive), you tend to have to wait a little while to get your shot but nothing compared to the freebies given out at public clinics. When trying to convince your employer, explain how offering a $20 shot for free and having everyone take it is better than not offering it and having to put up with lost productivity when people take sick days. Sick days = lost money, flu shots = $20; the math is easy.
#2 Option: Your Medical Insurance
Flu shots are usually covered by your medical insurance so they definitely deserve a call. They offer it for “free” because you’ve already paid for it, in your monthly premiums, so you need to take advantage of it. Your best option is to call them and find out what you need to do to get a flu shot that they’ll cover. Sometimes you have to go to someone in the network or jump through this hoop or that hoop, just make sure you’re jumping through the right ones.
#3 Option: Your City or State Health Department
Checking with your city or state’s health department is your second best chance to finding a free flu shot if your employer doesn’t offer them. The health departments, in their attempts to prevent huge outbreaks, will often setup times when a free or subsidized flu shot will be administered to the general public. While I’ve never gone to any of these types of events, I would imagine that, like elections, it probably takes forever for you to actually get the shot. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes these are best left for folks who have more time than they have money, or have no choice as their budget doesn’t allow for a $20 shot. If $20 seems like nothing to you, I would invite you to go with Option 3.
#4 Option: Pay For It
I do remember seeing a sign at Costco that said a flu shot would cost $20 for members and that seemed like a pretty good deal to me. Are the reputable? Not sure but they are in reputable stores so that’s something going for them.
There you go, four options, three of which are mostly free and one of which is pretty cheap. Some people think flu shots are bogus, I’m not one of them but I don’t feel very strongly either way, and this article isn’t about that so please reserve those comments for another time. If you have any experience with any of these, such as Maxim Health Systems or getting a flu shot from Costco/RiteAid/whatever, please do share