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Why get a flu shot?
Helps protect you & your loved ones
That’s right. Flu shots also help protect the people around you, which is especially important for those who are vulnerable to serious complications, including babies and the elderly. For added convenience, CVS offers group scheduling for up to 4 people. Find out who should get a flu shot.
Stay ahead of changing viruses
Because circulating influenza viruses are always changing and as new variants are discovered, the flu vaccine composition is reviewed and updated annually. Learn more about the vaccine types that CVS offers.
Explore the benefits of getting vaccinated at CVS®
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Your personalized health dashboard gives you immediate access to your vaccination records,* medications, test results and more. With your consent, CVS can also share your health records with your primary care provider.
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2023 through 2024 flu season
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. Some people, such as people 65 years and older, young children and people with certain health conditions, are at higher risk of serious flu complications.
There are two main types of flu viruses: types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.
The best way to help protect yourself from the flu is to get an annual flu vaccine. Each year, getting a flu vaccine is recommended to safeguard against the flu and help reduce the risk of severe illness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the timing of flu season is difficult to predict and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season. Typically, it’s important to get your annual flu vaccination in early fall because it’s best to be vaccinated before the flu begins spreading in your community.
We expect to see a similar volume of flu vaccinations this season and have taken proactive measures to ensure access to flu shots for patients at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic® locations.
We have an ample supply of flu vaccines this season and are prepared to vaccinate the communities we serve.
Getting a flu shot
Per the CDC, an annual flu vaccination is recommended for anyone 6 months of age and older, with rare exception. Our pharmacies can vaccinate children as young as 3 years old in some states; however, some states have different minimum ages. MinuteClinic providers can typically vaccinate children as young as 18 months. Parents of younger children may be able to arrange a flu shot with their pediatrician’s office.
It’s especially important to protect at-risk populations from severe illness. This includes essential workers and those who are at increased risk of complications from severe illness, such as those who are pregnant, adults 65 and older, infants, children younger than 5 years old and people of any age with certain immunocompromising or chronic medical conditions.
Yes. Patients may visit CVS.com® or the CVS Pharmacy® app to schedule an appointment for an updated COVID-19 booster. Patients will also have the option to schedule other vaccines during an appointment, including the flu vaccine.
People who SHOULD NOT get a flu shot:
- Children younger than 6 months old are too young to get a flu shot.
- People with severe, life-threatening allergies to any ingredient in a flu vaccine (other than egg proteins) should not get that vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics or other ingredients.
- People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of influenza vaccine should not get that flu vaccine again and might not be able to receive other influenza vaccines. If you have had a severe allergic reaction to an influenza vaccine in the past, it’s important to talk with your health care provider to help determine whether vaccination is appropriate for you.
- Other rare cases. Speak with your provider if you are concerned.
Flu shots are available beginning in mid-August at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations, including those found in Target and Schnucks. Patients can get a vaccine any day, including evenings and weekends.
Patients can quickly and easily make vaccination appointments online. Schedule an appointment at a CVS Pharmacy location, schedule an appointment at a MinuteClinic location or visit the CVS Pharmacy app.
The CDC recommends getting your flu vaccine early in the fall, before flu season begins, and, if possible, before the end of October. It’s important to not wait until flu season is in full swing or when there is an outbreak in your area to get the vaccine since it takes about two weeks for your body to build up protection after getting a flu shot. Please visit the CDC website for more information
It’s important to get the flu shot every year because the body’s protection from the vaccine declines over time. Also, flu viruses can vary from year to year, so receiving a new flu vaccine formulation is required to provide optimal protection.
Remember, it takes about two weeks for your body to build up protection after getting a flu shot. The CDC recommends that individuals make plans to get vaccinated early in the fall, before flu season begins, and preferably no later than the end of October. However, even if you’re not able to get vaccinated until November or later, vaccination is still recommended because the flu typically peaks in February and can continue into May.
Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu.
The majority of CVS Pharmacy locations can immunize children ages 3 and above; however, some states have different minimum ages. MinuteClinic providers can typically vaccinate children as young as 18 months.
Convenience is important, especially if you’re a parent, a working professional or constantly on the go. With more than 9,000 locations nationwide, more than 85% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a CVS Pharmacy location. CVS Pharmacy has several flu resources other than vaccines, including over-the-counter cold and flu symptom relief support products, immune system support supplements* and disinfectant cleaning products.
Scheduling your flu shot
Yes. Patients can conveniently make flu vaccine appointments with a certified immunizer by visiting this page or the CVS Pharmacy app. They can also call 1-800-SHOP CVS 1-800-746-7287 (TTY:711) or their local pharmacy for help with scheduling.
Patients can quickly and easily make a vaccination appointment with CVS Pharmacy online or through the CVS Pharmacy app. You may also schedule a vaccination online for a MinuteClinic location. At many MinuteClinic locations, you can walk in for a flu shot throughout flu season. Check online to see if walk-in appointments are available in your area.
Yes, if you’re scheduling flu shot appointments for your family, you’re able to schedule appointments for a group of up to four people at CVS Pharmacy.
If your family consists of four people or less, you can schedule vaccination appointments for a group at CVS Pharmacy. When scheduling vaccinations, you’re able to select “individual” if scheduling only for yourself or “group” if scheduling for a group of up to four people.
Patients looking to spend less time waiting in a store can request a vaccine ahead of time online or use the CVS Pharmacy app. You will be asked to fill out all relevant details, answer consent questions and select an appointment time. You will then receive a confirmation email that includes a link to check in when you arrive at the pharmacy so a certified immunizer, like a CVS pharmacist®, will be ready to administer the vaccine promptly.
Your CVS personalized dashboard gives you immediate access to your vaccination records, medications, test results and more. Sign in or create a health dashboard account.
Yes. Businesses, senior-living facilities, schools, municipalities and other groups may schedule an on-site flu vaccination clinic staffed by qualified CVS Pharmacy immunizers to help make vaccines convenient and accessible to employees, staff, residents and students. On-site flu vaccination clinics are available in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. Learn about or schedule a flu vaccination clinic.
Flu shot costs
The flu vaccine is available at no cost through most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B.
CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic can directly bill many national and regional health plans that cover all or part of the cost of a flu shot. Check with your health insurance provider to confirm coverage.
Flu shots are available to those with and without health insurance at the cash prices listed below.
While the flu shot is available at no cost through most insurance plans, it’s also available for the cash prices listed below for patients paying without insurance or with a voucher or third-party discount card.
- Standard vaccine (quadrivalent): $62.99
- Standard vaccine (egg free) (Flublok): $106.99
- Adults 65+ vaccine (Fluzone HD, FLUAD): $106.99
Yes. Medicare Part B covers the seasonal flu shot.
Flu shot safety
Because influenza viruses are always changing, the flu vaccine is reviewed annually and updated, as needed, to offer increased protection.
This year, CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic offer the standard Quadrivalent (QIV) flu vaccine as well as senior-dose vaccines for adults ages 65 and older.
Flu shots are made with either inactivated viruses or with proteins from the flu virus, so people cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Common side effects can include soreness; redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given; headache; fever; nausea; muscle aches and/or fatigue. These side effects may begin soon after the shot and usually resolve on their own in a few days. Serious allergic reactions to flu vaccines are very rare.
Yes. CVS Pharmacy® and MinuteClinic® offer specific doses recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for seniors ages 65 and above.
Fluad is an adjuvanted influenza vaccine approved for people 65 years and older. It contains an adjuvant, a medical ingredient that helps the body elicit a better immune response to the vaccine.
Another option is Fluzone HD, which is a high-dose vaccine that contains four times the antigen as the regular flu vaccine. It was developed to create a stronger immune response for seniors, who are at greater risk of developing severe flu-related illnesses.
We recommend calling ahead of time to ensure availability.
In addition, as we get older, our immune systems tend to weaken over time, putting us at higher risk for certain infections. All adults ages 65 and older should make sure they’re up to date on these vaccines, too:
- COVID-19 vaccine
- Pneumococcal vaccine (viral pneumonia)
- Shingles vaccine (varicella-zoster virus)
- Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough) or Td (tetanus and diphtheria)
You may need other vaccines based on your age or other factors, too. Talk with your doctor to learn which vaccines are recommended for you. This may include:
- RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) — adults ages 60 years and older should talk to their healthcare provider about getting a single dose of RSV vaccine
Yes, the influenza vaccine is safe and recommended for children 6 months of age and older.
The minimum vaccination age for children who can be vaccinated by pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician associates varies by state, so be sure to check with your local pharmacy or MinuteClinic location.
Yes. Pregnant women are at an increased risk for flu-related complications due to changes in their immune system, heart and lungs that occur during pregnancy. Pregnant women who get a flu shot also help provide protection from the flu to their babies for the first several months after birth when they are too young to receive the vaccination.
Some people who get vaccinated may still get sick. However, several studies have shown that vaccination reduces the severity of illness in those people who get vaccinated but still get sick.
Other recent studies show that while vaccine effectiveness can vary, flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40 percent and 60 percent among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well matched to the viruses used to make flu vaccines.
Xofluza will be available at CVS Pharmacy locations. CVS Pharmacy locations also carries the antiviral medication Tamiflu, which is also available as a generic (oseltamivir). Both of these medications require a prescription.
Flublok vaccine: This option is a quadrivalent influenza vaccine that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in adults 18 years and older. Flublok does not use the influenza virus or chicken eggs in its manufacturing process.
- Available at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations upon request
- Costs $106.99* (ages 18+)
Nasal spray vaccine: This is also known as FluMist and is considered an effective option by the CDC.
- FluMist is not available at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic locations.
- You should speak with your provider about whether this form of flu vaccine is right for you.
Flu and COVID-19
Yes, we continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines to eligible populations, following the guidance set forth by the CDC. You can even schedule a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine during the same appointment by using our online scheduling tool or in the CVS Pharmacy app.
The CDC has confirmed that patients can get any of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as the flu vaccine.
Yes. According to the CDC, children 5 years old and older may receive the seasonal flu vaccine at the same time they are receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to stagger vaccinations. Additionally, if a child has already received a flu shot, they can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at any time.
We are awaiting CDC guidance for the coadministration of the flu and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 4 years old and under.
While the flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, it can reduce the risk of illness, hospitalization and death due to the potentially severe complications that may occur when someone has the flu.
This season, it is likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will be circulating at the same time. So it is more important than ever to get a flu vaccine in order to reduce risk from the flu and reduce the burden on our health care system.
No, there is no impact on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine if you also receive a flu vaccine because they are designed to individually help tackle their respective viruses when exposed.
No, patients will not be asked to disclose COVID-19 vaccination status at the time of receiving a flu vaccine.
You should not receive any vaccines if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 until you are able to discontinue isolation, regardless of whether or not you have symptoms. If you are unsure of when you are able to discontinue isolation, contact your primary care provider.
Typically, it would be fine to receive a vaccine if you have a mild illness, like a sinus infection. However, patients should postpone vaccinations until symptoms have resolved, even if they received a negative test.
Flu shot myths
Myth 1: If you get the flu, you can’t get it again during that flu season.
Different strains of the flu circulate each season, so don’t assume that if you have already had the flu, you will not get it again. If you have already had the flu this season, you should still make it a priority to receive the flu shot.
Myth 2: Antibiotics will help fight against the flu.
Antibiotics work well against bacteria but are not effective for viral infections like the flu. Certain antiviral medications can treat the flu and are available by prescription from your doctor or health care provider.
Myth 3: The flu is only spread by coughing and sneezing.
Most experts think that flu viruses largely spread by droplets that result from coughing, sneezing or even talking. However, a person can still get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or even eyes. That’s why you should wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based cleanser.
General flu tips
Frequently wash hands throughout the day
Touching everyday items, like door handles and other surfaces, can be difficult to avoid. To help combat the spread of viruses and bacteria, wash your hands frequently (especially after coughing or sneezing) with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose. Alcohol-based sanitizers that contain at least 60 percent alcohol can be used when you are on the go and soap and water are not available.
Practice good health habits
Getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking adequate fluids and eating nutritious food are all healthy habits that can help protect you against the flu.
If you’re sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading the illness.
Make sure your kids are safe
Children younger than age 5 (especially under the age of 2) are at high risk for flu-related complications. For school-aged children, remind them of the importance of hand washing and using tissues when they cough or sneeze. Please note that the influenza vaccine is not approved for children younger than 6 months old.
If you’re expecting, take extra precautions
Pregnant women are more likely to experience severe illness from the flu virus than other women of reproductive age who are not pregnant. This is due to changes in the immune system, heart and lungs that occur during pregnancy. The flu may also be harmful for a pregnant woman’s developing baby. Getting a flu shot can have benefits for both the pregnant woman and the developing baby.
*FOR FREE FLU SHOTS: No cost with most insurance. Age restrictions apply. Available when certified immunizer is on duty.
*FOR $5 OFF $20 COUPON: Redeemable in store at CVS Pharmacy® and Longs Drugs® locations for one-time use only between August 14 through December 31, 2023. Coupon received via email after vaccination. Limit one per customer per eligible vaccine visit. $5 savings applied to total qualifying purchase of at least $20 (after other coupons and discounts are applied). Limit one coupon per transaction. Reward cannot be issued in Arkansas, New Jersey and New York, at Target or Schnucks locations, or at MinuteClinic® locations in Arkansas, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Coupon is void if copied or transferred and where prohibited by law. Internet printed or counterfeit coupons prohibited. Original must be relinquished with purchase. ExtraCare® card required to receive savings. Coupon cannot be combined with any other CVS Pharmacy coupon. Coupon excludes alcohol, bottle deposits, bus passes, copays, ephedrine/pseudoephedrine products, gift cards, hunting and fishing licenses, lottery tickets, magazines, milk (where required by law or regulation), money orders, newspapers, postage stamps, prepaid cards, prescriptions, sale or promotional merchandise, and any imposed governmental fees or items reimbursed by a government health plan. Tax charged on pre-coupon price where required. No cash back. Retailer’s coupon. Bearer assumes all sales and use tax liability. CVS® reserves the right to modify this offer.
*FOR FLU SHOT RECOMMENDATION: Frequently asked influenza (Flu) questions are available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
*FOR VACCINATION RECORDS: Availability varies by state based on regulations. This is not an all-inclusive list of who should be vaccinated. Age and other restrictions apply. Talk to your CVS Pharmacy® pharmacist to see if this vaccine is right for you.
*FOR EXTRACARE PHARMACY & HEALTH REWARDS: You must enroll in both the ExtraCare® and ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards® program to earn Pharmacy & Health ExtraBucks Rewards®. An individual can earn up to $50 in Pharmacy & Health ExtraBucks Rewards in a calendar year in connection with the program. See program rules for details or ask CVS® pharmacists for a copy. Rewards cannot be earned on any prescriptions purchased in Arkansas, New Jersey or New York; any prescriptions transferred to a CVS Pharmacy® in Alabama, Mississippi or Oregon; any controlled substance prescriptions purchased in Hawaii or Louisiana; or where otherwise prohibited by law. CVS Pharmacy reserves the right to modify or terminate the ExtraCare Pharmacy & Health Rewards program.
*FOR IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT SUPPLEMENTS: Consult with your health care provider before taking any vitamins or supplements. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.