Almost everyone over the age of six months is recommended to get a flu shot, according to the CDC. And with COVID-19 and flu symptoms often mirroring one another, it’s a better idea than ever.
What should you do right now? Plan where you’ll get your shot. Many people may be used to getting their flu shots at a clinic at their office, but with many people still working from home, it’s a good idea to come up with another plan. Fortunately there are plenty, with many free options if you have health insurance.
Here’s where to get vaccinated across the Philadelphia region.
Flu shots are offered in most doctor’s offices. According to the CDC, all Health Insurance Marketplace plans and most other private insurance plans must cover flu shots without charging a copayment or coinsurance. But some insurance plans cover vaccines only given by your doctor or at a limited set of locations. Consult your provider to find out where you’re eligible to get a shot and still be covered.
If your primary doctor is your best or most convenient option, call their office first to ask about vaccine availability, and if you don’t have insurance, pricing. Generally, you’ll need to schedule an appointment and will be in and out of the office fairly quickly.
Urgent care centers
Most urgent care centers offer walk-in flu shots. You can simply show up, and they’ll try to get you in and out of the office within an hour. Some urgent care centers, like Main Line Health, allow you to book a reservation online.
If you have insurance, you may have to pay a copay. You can call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card to find out. Others charge a flat fee, whether you have insurance or not. For example, a flu shot through Jefferson Health Urgent Care costs $40-$65. Call your closest urgent care center to learn about your options.
Most pharmacies and drug stores offer walk-in flu shots. Major chains, like Rite Aid, CVS, Kroger, Walgreens, and Walmart offer online pharmacy finders, which allow you to find the closest options to you, and many show flu shot availability. Some, like Walgreens, Walmart, and Kroger, allow you to schedule appointments online.
For family-owned or neighborhood pharmacies, call ahead to see your options.
Pharmacy flu shots are free with most insurance plans.
Without insurance, prices generally range between $30 to $80, depending on which vaccine you want (trivalent vs. quadrivalent). For example, at CVS, a seasonal vaccine is $40.99 and a high-dose vaccine (recommended for those 65 and older) is $73.99, and at Walgreens, a seasonal vaccine is $43 and a high-dose vaccine is $81.49.
As with other pharmacies, flu shots at grocery stores are free with most insurance plans.
If you don’t have insurance, prices vary and may be slightly higher than at a stand-alone pharmacy. At Giant pharmacies, a seasonal vaccine is $46 and a high-dose vaccine (recommended for those 65 and older) is $85, and at Acme, a seasonal vaccine is $49 and a high-dose vaccine is $87. Coupons may be available to help lower the cost if you don’t have insurance.
As a bonus, Acme is offering an added incentive: 10% off your groceries (up to $200) with any immunization.
A community health center or community flu clinic
If you don’t have health insurance, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health provides flu shots at city health centers and community flu clinics. There currently aren’t any community flu clinics scheduled, but look to the city’s flu clinic calendar here. Community flu clinics offer the flu shot for free during set hours.
At both community flu clinics and community health centers, flu shots are available for anyone over the age of 6 months old. (Anyone under 11 needs to be with a parent or guardian.) You have to show proof of Philadelphia residency (mail addressed to you, photo ID, etc.).
Community health centers accept walk-ins. You can get a flu shot at any of the following Community Health Centers, whether or not you have insurance:
South Philly: 1700 S. Broad St., Unit 201, Mon.-Fri. 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
Spruce Hill: 555 S. 43rd St., Mon.-Fri. 9-11 a.m. and 1-2 p.m.
West Powelton: 4400 Haverford Ave., Mon.-Fri. 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
North Philly: 1900 N 20th St., Mon.-Fri. 8:30-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
Ludlow: 301 W. Girard Ave., Mon.-Fri. 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
East Germantown: 131 E. Chelten Ave., Mon.-Fri. 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
Castor: 2230 Cottman Ave., (in Health Center 10 Annex), Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-12 noon
Strawberry Mansion: 2840 West Dauphin St., Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-12 noon
You can find a map of locations offering flu shots here.
Virtua’s Pediatric Mobile Services
Virtua’s Pediatric Mobile Services provides free flu shots to children ages 6 and under in neighborhoods across South Jersey (Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester Counties). A calendar with dates and locations can be found here, and will be updated regularly with new locations.
A parent or caregiver must be present. If it’s the child’s first flu vaccine, they’ll be asked to return in four weeks for a booster shot. No insurance is needed. Shots are given on a first-come, first-served basis, as well as by appointment.
You can call 609-304-0151 to learn more about the program and to schedule an appointment. You can get information in both Spanish and English.
This article has been updated since it was first published.