Monday, September 27, 2010

The Quest for the Free Flu Shot

I don't have health insurance, and I work with the public, so every fall I'm bombarded with reminders to get a flu shot. Problem is, that most of the time the flu shot for people without insurance costs $20, or you have to go somewhere that's doing a free clinic, stand in a long line and hope that they don't run out of vaccine. Last year was a year that I was unable to get a free shot, and it was probably the worst year to not get vaccinated considering I had two other friends who got swine flu.

What I wrestle with every year, is whether or not I should just pay $20 and get the shot at a convenient time, or if I should continue to scan ads and announcements trying to find a free flu shot that fits with my work schedule/ isn't 30 miles away. This is the constant battle with the whole frugality lifestyle, it seems. Not flu shots, but the time it takes to get something for free or for cheaper. A lot of people say it's not worth it. They might say that as someone who cannot afford to get sick I should just pay $20, get the shot and be done with it. $20 is a bargain compared to potential lost work time.

The other side of the argument is that most years I don't get a flu shot and I also don't get the flu--why waste the money? I can honestly say that since I started running regularly, I rarely get sick. Considering that people have come into my library and let me help them on the computer for fifteen minutes before announcing "I have pneumonia!" there's something to this whole exercise keeps you healthy theory. Maybe I should just skip the shot and save the money.

I go back and forth, and if this year is like last year, I'll probably go back and forth until it's too late to actually get the shot. Of course now that I've announced that I rarely get sick, who knows what will happen (shake fist at universe).

What would you do?


  1. I wouldn't get it. When I was teaching in the classroom, I was in contact with all kinds of nasty sick people and all of the germs their children handed off to them, not to mention lugging their papers home to grade that usually smelled terrible.

    If you don't get stick often, especially if you don't get the flu, you will most likely be fine. One of my students had swine flu for weeks and never told me until it was almost gone. I didn't have a flu shot, and I never got sick from her either.

    Just my opinion!

  2. Working in a hospital, I'm lucky that they just come around and stick us all with the flu shot whether we want it or not. If you work with patients (or with people who work with patients) you get the shot. Plain and simple.

    But this is the first year that I have that really easy option. I've always been lucky to have health insurance, so that's never been an issue. But I've always go back and forth on getting the shot or not.

    I say get it, because you could get unlucky enough to get the flu and be out the money for a doctor's visit, medicine (OTC or prescription), and the money lost from having to take days off work. So, if you can't find a free place and/or don't have the time to stand in line, I still say spend the $20. Yes, it is $20 that you could put towards something else, but if you do get sick, how much would that end up costing?