US VA flu shots for veterans at Walgreens

Continuing the discussion from Its that time of year again: to flu shot, or not to flu shot:

I am not sure how many might be able to use this info but … well, what the heck, eh? :blush:

U.S. Veterans can apparently now get their free flu shot at a local Walgreens. However, there are two requirements to take advantage of this.

First, you will need to already be enrolled/registered at a VA health care facility. I assume this is so that you do actually have a VA electronic health record in which to track that you received the flu shot.

You must also have obtained either the VA ID card (introduced 2004) or the newer Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) (introduced 2014) to identify yourself at the Walgreens.

And third (who knew?) apparently they also want you to take a copy of this letter with you so that when the Walgreens’s employee gives you the blank stare of confusion, you can hand it over and say, “Here, just read this. Especially that last bit at the bottom”.
VA direct mail letter for Walgreen’s immunization program

Below is a link to a description of the program on the VA website and the graphic they sent me via email.

###Veterans Health Administration: Flu Shots: More Access, Seamless Documentation


And, of course, after all that digging it turns out that the closest Walgreens to me is in Cortland, about 15 miles away. On the other hand, my VA outpatient clinic is actually just a bit over a mile away from my house so I could walk to it should I ever feel quite that ambitious.

What can I say? I just don’t out that much. :flushed:

John, and everyone else, flu shots are available for free at your local CVS and Wallgreens pharmacies. this includes medicare patients.

1 Like

[quote=“Daisy_Mae, post:3, topic:48017, full:true”]

They are not really “free”. Your insurance whether it is Medicxxx or other will be billed, and most of them pay without question or hassle. If you don’t have insurance, you will have to pay. The cost in my zip code was $31.99.

I walked to the local pharmacy to get my shot, so convenient :slight_smile:

Beyond covering any cost, the other aspect of this which intrigued me was that Walgreens is supposed to automagically update your VA electronic medical record. That is a slightly different twist I hadn’t seen before.

1 Like

right when you walk in the door to my local CVS there is a sign that states that you can “get your flu shot for free.” whether that means that the insurance co is paying for the shot or not, i still (and all the others) don’t pay any money out of their pocket. that seems like a pretty good deal to me.

right, the only “free” offer on the door at the CVS stores around here is an app! LOL

I think the key word here is “local”. When I went to the CVS website I did not find a description of a free program. I did bump up against a price list. Below is a partial excerpt from it. I’m glad I don’t have to pay for it (directly).

Flu Vaccinations & injections
    High dose $54.99
    Quadrivalent $36.99
    Seasonal $31.99

John, what are the differences between the different shots? if i am getting the FREE flu shot, does that mean i am getting the least effective shot?

That would be my guess, but it’s only a guess. I’m also not sure that “least effective” is an accurate characterization. I don’t think the less expensive formulations are necessarily less effective in general. I think it probably varies from person to person.

The seasonal seems to be the standard “tailored” vaccination intended for adults prior to flu season each year.

The High-Dose Seasonal Influenza Vaccine “contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that prompts the body to make antibody) contained in regular flu shots. The additional antigen is intended to create a stronger immune response (more antibody) in the person getting the vaccine.”

My understanding is that the High Dose is intended for folks over 65 whose immune systems may need an extra kick to respond sufficiently to the vaccine.

If my insurance, Medicare or otherwise, covers something 100%, I consider that to be “FREE” for me. I’m not concerned with the actual cost billed to my insurance. For all intents and purposes, such services I would refer to as “FREE”, as I would always refer to something as “FREE” if there is no copay, deductible, etc that would cause me to pay out of pocket. If there was a $2 copay or more, I’d no longer tell someone that it was “FREE”.

thank you for your version of the 3 different strength flu shots. i think you are most likely correct in saying that i most likely just received the “seasonal flu shot.” now i will ask when i go to the pharmacy next year.