The flu — also called influenza — can be serious, leading to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and the flu affects different people in different ways — regardless of whether your health is generally good. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of 3,000 to a high of 49,000 people. Most people who die of the flu are 65 or older, but everyone is at risk.
Flu season begins in the United States in October and can run as late as May. The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months of age get vaccinated each year to prevent the spread of the disease and the resulting complications. Different formulations of the vaccine are available; which one you should get depends on your age, health and allergies. Talk to your pharmacist before deciding.
Since you’re getting a flu shot, anyway, you might as well get a good deal on one, right? Even better: Getting a discount on shopping or cash back. Here are the local pharmacies that are offering a bonus along with your booster:
CVS: Get a 20% off shopping pass with your flu shot. The pharmacy accepts insurance plans including Aetna, United, Cigna, Humana, TRICARE, ESI, Medicare Part B and many more. Without insurance, the vaccine is $31.99. No appointment necessary but you can schedule a time online if you prefer; ages 18 months and older. Click here for locations.
Target: Flu shots count toward a 5% off day of shopping at the store. You must be a member of Target’s Pharmacy Rewards program; sign up here. Flu vaccines range from $28-$45 (depending on which type you choose) before insurance, and the store accepts many plans. No appointment necessary; ages 18 months and older. Click here for locations.
Tom Thumb: The grocery chain’s pharmacy is offering 10% off groceries when you get your flu shot there. Most insurances accepted; without insurance, the vaccines range in price from $28-$56. No appointments necessary; ages 8 and older. Click here for locations.
Walgreens: Get 500 Balance Reward points — benefits start at $5 cash back with 5,000 points — with each immunization. Through Oct. 14, 2013, when you purchase any immunization at Walgreens, the store will donate a vaccine through the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign. Up to 3 million children will receive vaccines through the program. Mot insurance plans are accepted; without insurance, shots range in price from $31.99 to $54.99. No appointment necessary, though you can schedule one and fill out paperwork online; ages 2 years and older. Click here for locations.