How Much Do Vaccines Cost Without Insurance in 2021?
The actual price you pay out-of-pocket will be determined by the manufacturer of the vaccine, the type of vaccine, and how many doses are required. For example, childhood immunizations can cost upwards of $650 without insurance. The health coverage you have can dramatically decrease this cost unless you have insurance with a deductible that isn’t yet met.
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Average Childhood Vaccine Costs
Different vaccines are administered at different points in a child’s development. Therefore, the price you pay out-of-pocket will depend on the type of vaccine as well as the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the vaccine itself. Outlined below are several of the most commonly administered childhood vaccines, their manufacturers, and their prices per dose according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Average Cost of Common Childhood Vaccines
|Vaccine||Manufacturer||Price Per Dose|
|Hepatitis A Pediatric||Merck||$21.40|
|Hepatitis A Pediatric||GlaxoSmithKline||$21.72|
|Hepatitis A/B 18 Only||GlaxoSmithKline||$65.13|
|Hepatitis B Pediatric/Adolescent||GlaxoSmithKline||$15.67|
|Hepatitis B Pediatric/Adolescent||Merck||$13.00|
|Meningococcal Conjugate||Sanofi Pasteur||$100.05|
|Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR)||Merck||$22.11|
|Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoids||Grifols||$16.55|
|Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid, and Acellular Pertussis||GlaxoSmithKline||$34.07|
|Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid, and Acellular Pertussis||Sanofi Pasteur||$33.16|
Evidently, there exists high variability not only among different types of vaccines but also between similar vaccines made by different pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the price you pay out of pocket will depend on how many doses of a particular vaccine are required. Many vaccines require more than one dose, and being that the prices above only reflect the cost of a single dose, you can expect to pay more out-of-pocket when receiving a vaccine that requires multiple doses.
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Recommended Vaccines by Age
Vaccines are not administered all at once. Instead, the type of vaccine(s) that a child receives will depend on how old the child is. Below is a general timeline of the vaccines a child should be receiving during the first 18 years of life.
Recommended Childhood Vaccine Administration Timeline
|1-2 Months||Hepatitis B (2 doses), DTaP, HiB, Polio (IPV), Rotavirus, Pneumococcal (PCV)|
|4 Months||DTaP, HiB, IPV, PCV, Rotavirus, Hepatitis B|
|6 Months||DTaP, HiB, IPV, PCV, Rotavirus, Influenza|
|7-11 Months||Catch up on missed vaccinations|
|12-23 Months||Chickenpox (Varicella), DTaP, HiB, Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR), IPV, PCV, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B|
|4-6 Years||DTaP, IPV, MMR, Chickenpox, Influenza|
|11-12 Years||Meningococcal Conjugate, HPV x3, Tdap, Influenza|
As evidenced above, certain vaccines require upwards of 3 doses. Therefore, while it may seem more beneficial to pay for vaccines out-of-pocket in the short term, the long-term requirements of vaccines increase costs tremendously.
Based on this information, it may seem like skipping vaccine doses — especially when multiple doses are required — is an option to save money. However, skipping vaccinations can be dangerous to your child and to others. Although it may seem harmless, failing to complete the full sequence of vaccinations may render them less effective, predisposing your child to an increased risk of illness from infectious diseases.
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COVID-19 Vaccines & How Much They Cost
Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech both received emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in mid-December. Both vaccines require two doses, spaced three to four weeks apart, and are over 94% effective at preventing COVID-19. So far, these vaccines do not demonstrate any severe side effects. Both are being paid for by the U.S. government currently for all eligible individuals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that vaccine doses bought by the U.S. government will be given to Americans at no cost. While you will not have to pay for the cost of the vaccine, the CDC writes “vaccination providers can charge an administration fee for giving someone the shot."
For instance, if you are seeking medical care besides just the COVID-19 (e.g. annual physical, consultation) while visiting urgent care or your doctor, you may receive additional charges. You'd likely have to pay for the visit, such as a regular copay or coinsurance if you have coverage, but it would not include a charge for the vaccine.
As of now, the government is still subsidizing the cost of COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans, regardless of insurance status. However, when the money allocated to this fund is exhausted, people without insurance may be expected to pay the full price of the vaccine in addition to its administrative costs.
This is why when you get the vaccine matters. If you get the vaccine when funding is still available, you will most likely only have to pay administrative fees. However, when funding runs out, people without insurance may have to pay for the full cost of the vaccine.
In order to account for supplies and administrative fees, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that the price of vaccines should be marked up by at least 25% of the cost reported by the CDC vaccine price list for the private sector.
At 25% above the price of $19.50/dose, the Pfizer vaccine would cost $24.38 per dose or $48.75 total. At 25% above the price of $32/dose, the Moderna vaccine would cost $40 per dose or $80 total.
However, we found that vaccine prices can oftentimes be increased to 80% above the private sector price. For example, the CDC private sector cost for a quadrivalent flu shot is around $17 but many people need to pay at least $30 out of pocket, which is an 80% markup.
At 80% above the private sector price, the Pfizer vaccine would cost $35.10 per dose or $70.20 total. The Moderna vaccine would cost $57.60 per dose or $115.20 total.
Based on these calculations, we expect the vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer to cost somewhere between $24.38 and $57.60 per dose.
It is expected that once the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca is approved, it will be significantly less expensive since it is not made with mRNA technology.
How You Can Avoid Paying High Prices for COVID Vaccines
Since the government allocated funds to cover the cost of vaccines during the pandemic, you will likely be able to avoid high fees by getting the vaccine once it is available for your group in the population rather than waiting until after the pandemic. The vaccine should be free for all U.S. adults through the summer of 2021.
In addition, be sure to call the site you plan on getting vaccinated at before getting the vaccine to see if you will need to pay an out-of-pocket cost.
If you are covered by insurance, you should contact your insurance company to determine if they will fully cover the cost of your vaccine.
Vaccine prices are highly unpredictable and can introduce unexpected financial burdens. While it may seem like skipping vaccinations can save you money, this can cause you to become infected with preventable diseases, creating higher out-of-pocket costs in the long run.
An easier solution for the unpredictable costs of vaccinations is Mira. With Mira, you can be seen by a local primary care doctor and receive your vaccinations today for as little as $45 per month and $99 per visit. Learn more about how Mira can simplify your health coverage, starting today.
Jacqueline graduated from the University of Virginia in 2021 with a B.A. in Global Public Health and is a current M.D. candidate at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Jacqueline has been working for Mira since April 2020 and is passionate about the intersection of public health and medical care.