Just yesterday CVS emailed me saying flu shots are available! I can get vaccinated tomorrow, if I want. (Flu shot price comparison below.) But there’s no point in spending $20-$35 to get a flu shot that’s going to fade before flu season hits, right?
Yes and no. Experts disagree on how long a flu shot lasts. Worriers (like me) believe that getting a flu shot “too early” will leave you unprotected when flu season is at its strongest, November to April.
The Mayo Clinic notes:
The vaccine’s effectiveness is usually strongest during the first six months after receiving a flu shot. After that, the strength of the protection it provides begins to diminish.
So if I get pricked tomorrow, I will be protected through late February, but vulnerable in the spring. On the other hand, if I listen to the Center for Disease Contro (CDC) I should grab that appointment. The CDC says:
Flu vaccination provides protection against the influenza strains contained in the seasonal vaccine for the entire season. Vaccination can begin as soon as vaccine becomes available.
What experts do agree on:
- The shot takes about two weeks to become effective
- Children being vaccinated for the first time need two shots, so an early start is wise
- Old folks, young folks, pregnant ladies, and anyone with a chronic health condition (like asthma), are strongly encouraged to get a flu shot
Flu shot price comparison
Last year the price of flu shots went up because they also included the H1N1 vaccine. Your health insurance may lower the cost of the prices below. This year the flu shot includes H1N1 unless otherwise noted.
Best price! Costco – $20 during nursing clinics, could be higher when Costco staff administers
Rite Aid – $28 (make an appointment here, walk ins also accepted)
CVS – $29 (make an appointment online or walk in)
Walgreens – $31.99 (Delaware is $35.99) (May not includes H1N1)
Your dr’s office – Co-pay plus fee (varies by office, call for details)
Sam’s Club – Being offered. No price stated on their flu shot page and the pharmacist I spoke to did not know the price.
Your office – Some employers have a flu shot day where you can get vaccinated for free or cheap (without having to take time off work).
Are you going to get a flu shot? When?