How Much Does a COVID-19 Vaccine Cost at Pharmacies in 2023?

Alyssa Corso
Alyssa Corso8 Jul 2023

Urgent care centers, pharmacies, PODs, health clinics, and physician's offices distributed the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible recipients. Due to the pandemic, the vaccines are typically free for both insured and uninsured individuals—some of these offering vaccine pharmacies, including Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart. See the full list of pharmacies below.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Cost at Pharmacies

As part of Operation Warp Speed, the United States placed an initial order of 100 million doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine was purchased at $19.50/dose and the Moderna vaccine was purchased at approximately $32/dose.

Federal officials have announced that you should not be charged (regardless if you have health insurance) when receiving the vaccine during the pandemic. You can still be charged for the administration of the vaccine; however, you will most likely not have to pay for administration at pharmacies.

It's possible, however, that the COVID vaccine cost without insurance will depend on where you get vaccinated and when. Once the pandemic is over, we can estimate that uninsured individuals will need to pay between $24.38 and $57.60 per dose.

Pharmacies Administering the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination is a collaboration between the federal government, states, territories, and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks to increase the distribution of COVID-19 vaccination across the United States. The COVID-19 vaccine will be available at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid, Kroger, Publix, and more through this program. 

Below is a full list of the pharmacies that will be administering the COVID-19 vaccine:

CVS (including Long's)

Previously, CVS administered the COVID-19 vaccine to high-priority groups before administering the vaccine to a broader group. However, the vaccine can now be given to all individuals aged 12 and above at these stores. The target vaccination clinics can be found in:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Walgreens (including Duane Reade)

Walgreens has administered more than 147.6 million COVID-19 vaccines at long-term care facilities since December 21, 2020. Additionally, Walgreens has vaccines available to offer the general public at its 9,000 stores.  

Walmart, Inc. (including Sam’s Club)

Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies have also been accepting and administering federal allocations of the COVID-19 vaccine. Specifically, they administer vaccines in more than 5,100 of their pharmacies, and no appointment is needed to receive the vaccine at these sites.

Rite Aid Corp.

Rite Aid is part of The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program and has been administering the COVID-19 vaccine since February 11, 2021. In particular, you can receive the vaccine at any of Rite Aid’s 2,500 stores without having an appointment scheduled. 

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The Kroger Co.

As of March, Kroger has set out to deliver approximately 1 million vaccines a week. They currently have locations distributing vaccines in 26 unique states and hope to increase this number.

Publix Super Markets, Inc.

Publix has continued to provide limited quantities of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, they have expanded their reach across different states. Publix offers the COVID-19 vaccine in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

Costco Wholesale Corp.

In select locations, Costco is offering a limited number of COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Arizona
  • New York City
  • Oregon
  • Puerto Rico
  • Washington

Albertsons Companies, Inc. 

Albertsons administer vaccinations at select locations, and thus far, they have distributed over 4.5 million vaccines. They predict all of their pharmacies will eventually have a supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. Still, they encourage individuals to continue to check their eligibility and to schedule an appointment with your pharmacy if they are eligible. 

Hy-Vee, Inc.

Currently, all Hy-Vee locations are administering vaccinations. You can schedule appointments if you’d like; however, no appointment is necessary to receive the vaccine at Hy-Vee.

Meijer Inc.

Meijer is distributing vaccines at select locations at this time. Meijer currently has a pre-registration link so you can secure your COVID-19 vaccine once eligible and available.

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You must make an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at H-E-B pharmacies.

You can see the full list of participating pharmacies here.

When COVID-19 Vaccines Became Available at Pharmacies

On February 11th, 2021, the federal U.S. government began shipping a limited number of COVID-19 vaccines to 6,500 pharmacies. Since then, approximately 56% of those ages 12 and up have been fully vaccinated, and about 40,000 pharmacies now offer the vaccine. 

Initially, the supply was small, as CVS said they had received only about 250,000 total vaccines to administer across 11 states during this first round. However, CVS has distributed more than 10 million COVID-19 vaccines throughout 2,000 stores in 44 different states from this initial start. Still, individuals are advised to make sure they’re eligible for the vaccine and to check pharmacy websites often to see if they can get an appointment.

How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine at a Pharmacy

Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy is a relatively simple process. All you have to do is confirm that you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and then make an appointment at the pharmacy if they require one (some pharmacies accept walk-in appointments). You can usually make appointments online through their websites.

Individuals Eligible For The COVID-19 Vaccine

Currently, the FDA and CDC have extended COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone 12 years of age and older. However, for individuals aged 12 to 15, you must have parental or legal guardian consent, and an adult must accompany you. Previously, the CDC ranked individuals into phases based on career, age, and underlying health conditions, determining when they could receive the vaccine.

We are currently in phase 2/3. This phase implies that individuals of age 12 and up can receive the vaccine. Additionally, Moderna and Pfizer are running clinical trials on pediatric patients aged six months to 12 years to see if they can prove eligible for the vaccine.

Items to Bring to Your COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

Below is a list of some items you must bring to your appointment in order to receive your COVID-19 vaccine. Please note that you will only receive your vaccine if you are eligible under the current phase of distribution in your state and if you have an appointment. 

  • Government-issued picture ID
  • Insurance Card (if you are uninsured, you can still receive a vaccine, free of charge)
  • Mask/Face Coverings to be Worn at All Times (even if you're waiting in line outside)
  • Copy of your Appointment Confirmation (you may want to print it out)
  • For your second vaccine appointment, it is advised that you bring your vaccination card.

Bottom Line

As the virus begins to spread again due to new strains such as the delta variant, pharmacies must continue to provide vaccines to eligible individuals. Through the low cost for both insured and uninsured individuals and the ease with which you can receive one, the vaccines offered at the pharmacies are being made as accessible as possible to the public. Through this, medical professionals are hopeful that more and more individuals will continue to receive the vaccines. 

Alyssa Corso

Alyssa is a Senior Marketing Associate & Content Writer at Mira. She is passionate about educating others on how to affordably access healthcare.