The flu season is getting underway. Get your flu shot, if you have not already done so. A flu shot won’t protect you from Covid-19, but it will protect you from the flu so you don’t suffer a double-whammy.
Both are viral infections, with similar symptoms including runny nose, headache, cough, body aches and fever. And yes, those are also the same symptoms of the common cold.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highly recommends children and adults should get a flu shot both to reduce risk from flu and also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources, especially ICU beds.
Protect yourself and your children with a FREE flu shot and protect yourself from the misery and the medical bills associated with the flu.
Because there can be a long wait these days at walk-in clinics offering Covid-19 testing an booster shots, we recommend you get your flu shot at a location where there is no Covid-19 testing.
It’s also a good idea for adults – especially seniors – to get a FREE pneumonia shot to protect against the lung infection that can be part of Covid-19 or the flu.
Here’s where to get FREE flu shots in New York City, so you don’t end this difficult Pandemic year or start the new one sick with the flu or pneumonia.
What you should know about Covid-19 & variants
from the US Government
What to know about
NYC Covid vaccination and mask regulations
Digital Map of NYC Flu Shot Locations
For easy planning, the NYC Health Department has a map that lets you search for flu shot locations around the city based on age and whether an appointment is required.
New Yorkers can also call 311 or text FLU to 877-877 to find nearby flu shot locations.
Note that demand is high, and the nearest place to you may have run out of supplies of the type of vaccine you require.
Medical insurance coverage for flu shots
Under the federal Affordable Care Act – also called Obamacare – insurance plans created after March 23, 2010, are required to provide some types of FREE preventive care, including immunizations.
Since plans often change each year, that Obamacare rule mandating FREE flu shots covers nearly every medical insurance plan available today.
If you have a new employer, or if you or your employer recently switched insurance plans, find out if flu shots are covered.
Probably, they are covered, since flu shots are far lest costly for insurance companies than an emergency room visit or hospital stay to treat it.
Medicare and Flu Shots
If you have Medicare Part B, your flu shot should be FREE. If you have private insurance, you may be able to get a flu shot either FREE or for the price of a copay.
Even if you don’t think flu shots are covered by your insurance, ask the billing department at your doctor’s office to call and find out.
If you are 65 or over, also consider a FREE shot to prevent shingles, and also the FREE shot to prevent pneumonia.
Note that if one location has run out of the shot you want, a neighboring location of the same chain might have it, or a competing location.
In NYC, where there’s a CVS, Duane Reade, Walgreen’s or Rite Aid on practically every block, it’s just a short walk from sold out to sit down.
Bring your medical insurance card and a photo id.
Seniors should get the flu vaccine know as high dose.
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NYC on the Cheap likes Walgreen’s for its Get a Shot, Give a Shot. program.
For every flu shot customers get, Walgreen’s donates a lifesaving immunization to a child in a developing country.
So far, according to the website, Walgreen’s has given away more than 34 million immunizations, through the United Nations Foundation, and hopes to give away more than 100 million doses by 2024, in countries including war-torn Afganistan.
This NYC-based chain, which began with a street-through store between Duane and Reade streets – hence its name – is now owned by Walgreen’s.
So everything that applies to Walgreen’s also applies to Duane Reade – including the website link.
CVS and MinuteClinic –
FREE flu shots for Medicare Part B patients, including high dose flu shots for those 65 plus.
Pneumonia shots also are available in some locations.
Through Oct. 31, ExtraBucks rewards members also get a $5 coupon for a $25 purchase on your next visit.
Rite Aid no longer has a specific website page for flu shots.
Rite Aid loyalty club members get 25 Wellness Points for getting a flu shot.
More places to get flu shots
You can also get FREE flu shots in NYC at Sam’s Club locations with pharmacies, and walk-in urgent care locations such as CityMD without an appointment.
This was posted originally in November 2017, and is updated each flu season, including in October 2021.