Freaking Out Because You Can’t Find a Flu Shot? Here’s What to Do

influenza-vaccine-636_0Your doctor is usually the best place to go for a flu shot, but with everyone scrambling to get one after news of a country-wide outbreak, the vaccine is getting harder to find. Because a flu shot is the single best way to protect yourself from the influenza a virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), make sure you take steps to find an available vaccine in your area, especially if you or your children have diabetes, asthma or a weakened immune system. Be resourceful and look in unexpected places, like your local walk-in clinic, pediatrician (even for adults) or one of the specialists you see, such as your endocrinologist.

These pharmacies and retail chains offer flu shots, and many of the pharmacies offering flu shots take insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare, and don’t require an appointment. Anyone getting vaccinated for the first time should do it as soon as possible.

Costco ($16.99)
Meijer ($24.99)
Target (also offers preservative-free flu shots)
Wal-Mart (accepts insurance plans)
CVS (available at every store; accepts most insurance plans)
Walgreens (accepts most insurance plans)
Rite Aid (accepts most insurance plans)
Giant (check with pharmacy)
HEB (check with pharmacy)

If you are uninsured, can’t afford the copay or your doctor has run out of the vaccine, you can also contact your local health department to find a clinic near you that has the vaccine. The CDC offers free shots to financially vulnerable children through their Vaccines for Children Program (VFC) and The American Lung Association has an online flu shot locator.

Local churches, community centers and schools may also offer free or very affordable flu shots as well. Usually no appointment is necessary, but some places may not vaccinate very young children, so call ahead if you’re bringing your toddler for a flu shot.

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