One of the best ways to keep our veterans healthy is to make sure they’re getting their yearly flu shot to protect their immune systems and prevent the spread of the flu. It’s an important step since the flu can be particularly dangerous for our weaker populations like older veterans.
As veterans, enrolling in VA healthcare is one of the major benefits you can reap from having served in the military and it’s definitely something you should be taking advantage of. Free flu shots are just one of the major perks you’ll receive from enrollment.
Free Flu Shots for Veterans
The VA understands how important flu shots are to the health of our communities. In order to better provide flu shot immunizations, the VA has partnered with Walgreens to provide free, accessible flu shots at any of Walgreens 82,000 locations nationwide.
In order to qualify for free flu shots, veterans must be enrolled in healthcare through the VA. All you have to do is show the Walgreens pharmacist your Veterans Health ID card with another valid form of ID that matches. Other than that, there’s no appointment required and everything else is taken care of.
If it’s easier for you to get to a VA health care facility, free flu shots are also available there every year to make sure your health is in tip top shape. The only difference is that you will need to make an appointment at a VA health care facility unless you come across one of their walk-in flu stations in local areas.
VA Flu Shots Schedule
In general, flu shots become available for a limited time every year to prepare for flu season. Last year, free flu shots were available for veterans at Walgreens from August 15, 2018 to March 31, 2019.
It should be known that as of March 1st, flu shots have extra limited availability and could start to run out. It’s your best option to get your free flu shot as early as possible within the schedule. Plus, you will be charged for a flu shot if you attempt to receive one after March 31st so make sure you stick to the constraints set forth by these dates.
Flu Shots for Veterans – FAQs
To learn more about how to get your free flu shot as a veteran, here are some frequently asked questions to assist with any potential concerns.
Why did the VA partner with Walgreens?
To make it easier for veterans to obtain the flu shot at no cost.
Can I still get a free flu shot at a VA health care facility?
Yes, but you will need to make an appointment. Flu shots performed at Walgreens will not require an appointment.
Are the flu shots I’ll receive at Walgreens the same as what I’d receive at a VA health care facility?
Not all flu vaccines are made by the same company and there’s a chance you’ll receive different forms of the flu shot depending on where you go to receive it. Nonetheless, any flu shot you receive whether at a Walgreens or a VA health care facility will help protect you from the flu this season.
Will there be extra charges involved with getting my flu shot?
Both at Walgreens and at VA health care facilities there is no charge for receiving your flu shot so long as you get the flu shot within the schedule and you don’t require a high dosage (HD) flu shot.
The flu shot schedule falls between late August and mid-March. Check the current schedule at the VA Public Health website here. Just be aware that flu shots are in limited supply so by March 1st, your flu shots will be subject to availability.
After March 31st, the flu shots will no longer be available for free and you may be charged either out-of-pocket or to a third-party insurance company.
Additionally, if you’re over 65 years of age, it is suggested to receive an HD flu shot. Walgreens and VA health care facilities will be able to provide HD flu shots but you may incur charges that won’t be reimbursed by the VA.
Will immunizations from Walgreens become part of my veteran’s health record?
Yes. When you receive a flu shot at Walgreens and you make the pharmacist aware that you are part of the VA health program, the immunization information will be transmitted to the VA through the eHealth Exchange.
Within 24 hours, your health records will be available to VA clinicians. In order for this information sharing from Walgreens to the VA to occur, you do not need to participate in the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health Program.
Are other retail pharmacies involved in a partnership with the VA for free flu shots?
At this time, Walgreens is the only partner involved with the VA in offering free flu shots for veterans.