Vaccines are an essential part of public health, as they help prevent the spread of many deadly diseases. The CDC recommends a list of vaccinations in order to stay healthy. There are multiple ways you can save money on vaccinations, for both children and adults including The Vaccine for Children Program, Patient Assistance Programs, and vaccine clinics.
One way you can save money on healthcare is through a Mira membership. Members at Mira get access to low-cost urgent care visits for only $45 a month. This is a great option for completing all of your vaccinations. Protect yourself and those around you, don’t worry about the cost. Sign up for Mira today.
8 Ways to Save Money on Vaccines
Vaccines can be costly, especially without insurance. With a long list of recommended vaccinations for both children and adults, you may be worried about being able to afford them all. Luckily, we found eight ways to help you save money on vaccinations so that all you need to worry about is staying healthy.
1. The Vaccine for Children Program
The Vaccine for Children (VFC) Program is a federally funded program that provides free vaccines to children who would otherwise not get them due to cost. The CDC purchases vaccines and distributes them to VFC partnered doctor’s offices and clinics so that they can administer them to patients.
The vaccines that the VFC Program makes available are made through recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and provide protection from 16 different diseases. Although the cost of the vaccine will be free, there may be associated provider visit fees or costs for other services provided.
In order to qualify for the program, the child must be 19 years old or younger and fall under one of the following categories:
- American Indian or Alaskan Native
- Eligible for Medicaid
2. Patient Assistance Programs
Patient Assistance Programs are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies and usually provide cheaper prescription medications to low-income individuals. However, some pharmaceutical companies provide low-cost vaccines as well, like Merck. If you are looking to receive a vaccine that Merck manufactures, like the HPV vaccine, this may be a good option for you.
In order to qualify for Merck’s program, you must be over the age of 19, cannot have any sort of coverage for vaccines (like Medicaid, Medicare, or other insurance), and be unable to afford the cost of vaccination. Exceptions may be made for special circumstances in times of financial hardship.
3. Compare Clinic or Pharmacy Prices
Another way to get the best cost possible on your next vaccination is to compare the costs at different pharmacies and clinics. The prices of vaccines can vary greatly depending on the type of clinic you visit. You can determine the price of vaccination by calling the clinic or visiting their website in search of self-pay prices.
For example, at CVS Minute Clinic locations, a seasonal flu shot for those over the age of 18 is $74. In comparison, getting a flu shot at Costco only costs $19.99 without insurance. This is a significant difference in the pricing and could save you a considerable amount of money, especially if it's something you get each year.
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4. Prescription Savings Clubs or Cards
Prescription Savings Clubs or Cards are available at several pharmacies, including Walgreens, Kroeger, CVS, Rite Aid, and more. At Walgreens, anyone is eligible to sign up for this savings method, regardless if they have insurance or not. The membership can only be used with cash purchases and provides up to a 20% discount on vaccines. Bonuses and points can be accumulated to spend on other products at the pharmacy.
CVS has a similar program as well, known as ‘ExtraCare.’ Creating a membership is free and gives you access to earning up to 2% cashback on any CVS purchases. This money can then be redeemed for products and services at their locations. There is an opportunity to earn up to $50 a year from receiving vaccinations. Although this discount is not applied at the time of injection, the cashback could help you save a lot of money each year.
Contact your local pharmacy to see if they have some kind of rewards program in place.
5. Vaccine Clinics
Throughout the year, pharmacies and state departments often house ‘free vaccine clinics’ for people to attend. This is very common during flu season, and for COVID-19 vaccinations. For example, Walmart frequently hosts events where they provide flu shots for free. Make sure to keep an eye out on the news for similar events at pharmacies near you.
Federally funded health centers often have vaccine clinics as well, providing free or low-cost options to those without health insurance. You can search online to find a participating health center near you. If you are planning on traveling, having the proper vaccinations to keep yourself safe is a very important aspect of trip planning. Travel clinics often appear around the country as well, providing people with necessary vaccines like yellow fever.
6. State Immunization Programs
Unvaccinated, uninsured adults are an important population in the United States. Many risks come with being unvaccinated and can increase the chance of previously eradicated diseases to make a return to society. In addition, health insurance companies now have the ability to charge extra to members who are not vaccinated, similar to how smokers have higher health insurance premiums.
Recognizing the need for more affordable vaccines for the adult population, many states have begun immunization programs for their citizens. Vaccines are provided at a low cost through government and pharmaceutical funding. All state programs are different and can be read about more on your state’s health department website. Each department will provide vaccines they find necessary for public health in their state at public and private healthcare providers.
7. Student Health Centers
College students are a highly susceptible population to a wide range of illnesses. Because of this, many universities require proof of vaccination for several diseases, including meningitis. Colleges recognize the cost burden that attending school provides, and often host vaccination clinics at their respective student health centers so that everyone may have access. This is very common for the flu vaccine, and now the COVID-19 vaccine as well. Keep a lookout for messages from your school about potential pop-up clinics throughout the year on your campus.
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8. Alternative Solutions
If you don’t find yourself eligible for any of the previously mentioned options, you may feel discouraged and defeated about finding affordable vaccinations. Luckily, alternative solutions like Mira are a great option for saving money. For only $45 per month, Mira members get access to low-cost urgent care visits, which are a popular place to receive routine vaccinations. In addition, members will also save on prescription medications and have the opportunity for same-day lab testing. Mira is a great option for both those with and without healthcare coverage.
Recommended Routine Vaccinations
There are many vaccines available to the general public, but they might not all be necessary for your health. Before scheduling a vaccination date for all of the vaccines a pharmacy may carry, you should review what the CDC recommends for your age group. On their website, the CDC provides a detailed vaccination schedule depending on the age range.
As mentioned above, the recommendations come from the ACIP, which consists of 15 experts in the medical field. Each year, they work to provide a list of recommended vaccines as well as a schedule and dosage information. People are split into the following categories:
Your doctor or another healthcare provider can assist you in scheduling your vaccinations so that you may stay as safe and healthy as possible.
Vaccines are essential to good public health and protect people from a wide variety of deadly diseases. With such a long list of recommended vaccines, they can be costly without assistance from insurance. There are however many ways to save on vaccinations, including savings clubs at pharmacies and pop-up clinics across the country.
Another way to save on your vaccinations is Mira. For as low as $45 per month, members at Mira can visit urgent care centers for a very low cost. This is a great place to get your routine physical and vaccinations completed. Don’t avoid vaccinations because of the cost, your health is more important than that. Mira recognizes the struggle and is here to help, sign up for Mira today.
Talor graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Biobehavioral Health, and minors in Spanish and Diversity & Inclusion in May of 2022. She has a passion for health equity and diversity in health. In the future, Talor hopes to work in public health policy reform to help eliminate health disparities. She enjoys reading, cooking, and listening to podcasts in her free time.