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As we roll into flu season, I'm left wondering: "is there are any difference between the different providers of seasonal flu shots?" I did some basic internet research that displayed quite a variation in pricing by facilities.

$15

  • Sam’s Club (No membership required, and some locations offer price-matching if you can find flu vaccines for any lower in your area.)

<...snip...>

$37.99

  • Rite-Aid

Brad's Deals - The Most Affordable Places to Get a Flu Shot (Even Without Insurance!)


That's a hefty difference; surely over double the price would result in some sort of higher quality product. That's what I'm here to find out.

  • Are there any differences in the quality of flu shots by producer?

  • Is there a discernible difference between those flu shots?

  • Which facilities historically or currently provide the highest quality flu shots for me and my family?

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There are a few different manufacturers of the influenza vaccine available in the United States. There are also two main types of flu vaccines available; quadrivalent and trivalent. Quadrivalent is designed to protect against two types of influenza A viruses and two types of B while trivalent protects against the two A but only one B. Neither one is recommended over the other by the CDC.

The difference in price could be due to manufacturer difference or quadrivalent vs trivalent vaccine. To find out what flu vaccine each retailer uses, you would probably have to call and talk to a pharmacist.

Another reason for price difference could be how the vaccine is supplied. Some manufacturers make single dose syringes as well as multi dose vials.

CDC Quadrivalent info

CDC vaccine efficacy

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    And a membership club such as Sam's (or Costco, both in the USA) don't pass on the markup that drug store walk-in clinics do. – Giorgio Sep 7 '16 at 21:20
  • @Dorothy are you saying they're not as high quality? – Ryan Foley Sep 7 '16 at 22:11
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    @RyanFoley; not at all, that the cost doesn't reflect quality; it reflects the provider's pricing model – Giorgio Sep 7 '16 at 22:19

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