Healthcare worker putting bandaid over vaccin.width .jpg

Costco Offers COVID Vaccines for $140 and Flu Vaccines for $20. Are They Worth It?

Healthcare worker putting bandaid over vaccine injection site on person's upper arm.

Image source: Getty Images

It’s sniffle season. Flu and COVID-19 are reminding the public of where we stand. If there is ever a time to vaccinate, it’s now. (Unless you did it early, like a boss.)

Costco offers COVID-19 and flu vaccinations at the Costco Pharmacy. For the low price of $20 apiece, you can get your whole family vaccinated against the flu — without health insurance. With insurance, the shots are likely free, since insurance typically covers immunizations.

Costco isn’t the only vaccination station in town. CVS also offers insurance at its in-store pharmacies. Like Costco, CVS also takes insurance. But if you’re not covered, you’ll pay out of pocket.

Costco vs. CVS vaccine costs

Here’s how Costco and CVS’s sticker prices compare:

Costco CVS
Flu $19.99 for members, $29.99 for non members $62.99 per person
COVID-19 $139.99 per members, $185.00 per non member $0 in 2024, $190.99 after 2024
Data sources: Costco and CVS.

Costco offers cheaper out-of-pocket vaccines

Costco offers cheaper vaccinations. If you’re uninsured, or your health insurance doesn’t cover vaccinations, consider getting shots at Costco Pharmacy to save $40 or more on flu vaccines. You can get your whole family covered for $20 each.

But there’s a catch: You need a Costco membership, which costs $60 monthly, to get the best prices. I called my local Costco pharmacy, and non-member prices are $29.99 for flu shots and $185.99 for COVID-19 (Moderna) shots.

Non-members pay up, but the sticker prices are still smaller than those at CVS. Even so, CVS is better than Costco in one big way: right now, CVS is giving COVID-19 vaccines for free.

CVS offers free COVID-19 vaccinations in 2024

CVS offers free COVID-19 vaccines through the Bridge Access program, which covers the cost through December 2024. You get free shots if you’re uninsured or your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of vaccinations.

CVS would otherwise charge $190.99 per shot, so it’s worth taking advantage of the temporary discount. To check if your local CVS (or Walgreens) participates in the program:

  1. Navigate to the official vaccine finder
  2. Enter your ZIP code
  3. Check your desired vaccine types
  4. Click “search”
  5. Check the box that says “Bridge Access Program Participant”

The map should populate with nearby pharmacies that offer COVID-19 vaccines for free. You may want to call the store to double-check they have enough shots in stock, as this could save you time.

What else to consider

Both Costco and CVS accept insurance from most major providers. If you’re insured, chances are, you won’t pay a dime for vaccinations out of pocket — insurance will cover it.

But some health insurers consider CVS or Costco out of network, meaning your plan may not cover the cost of shots. Check your insurance plan to be sure.

Technically, both companies allow walk-ins. In reality, wait times can be longer than a 10-foot needle. Skip the lines by scheduling ahead on the CVS app or If you’d rather walk in, call ahead to make sure that your store has shots in stock.

I typically schedule vaccines at CVS. My insurance plan covers them, and CVS is less crowded than my local Costco. But if I were paying out of pocket, I’d consider getting my flu shot at Costco to save money. It’s one of many things I could do to improve my personal finances in 2024.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Cole Tretheway has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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