Free flu jab: can I get one, and where is the cheapest if not?

We explain free flu jab eligibility and the where you can get the cheapest flu jab

A happy patient that just received a vaccine
(Image credit: Getty images)

If you don’t qualify for a free flu jab on the NHS you can pay for one but it’s worth shopping around - you can pay nearly twice the price for the same shot in the arm.

Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people with symptoms including a sudden high temperature of 38C or above, an aching body diarrhoea and being sick, according to the NHS (opens in new tab).

If you’re entitled to a free NHS flu vaccine you’ll usually be contacted by your local GP surgery or you can get one from a pharmacy, but it’s worthwhile checking your eligibility - or paying a few quid for a jab and avoiding a nasty illness this winter.

WHO GETS A FREE FLU JAB?

If you’re an adult you can get the flu vaccine free on the NHS subject to eligibility which includes – 

  • If you are 50 or over (including if you are 50 by 31 March 2022)
  • Have certain medical conditions including diabetes and heart conditions
  • Are pregnant
  • If you are in long term residential care
  • Get a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if they get flu
  • Live with someone who is more prone to infections, like someone with HIV or who has had a transplant or having treatment for cancer.
  • A frontline adult social care worker who can’t get a vaccination from their employer

If you’re a health or social care worker who’s been given a voucher for the flu vaccine by your employer, you can use this at a pharmacy that offers this service.

WHERE CAN I GET THE CHEAPEST FLU JAB?

When you call or go online to book an appointment you should be asked about your circumstances to determine whether you could be entitled to a free flu jab rather than paying for one.    

In some cases you may be able to walk in and wait for an appointment, however this will be dependent on individual outlets and how busy they are, but you can’t do this until September at the earliest.

Here's our run down of the cheapest places to get a flu jab.

Asda 

You can save nearly £1 booking your flu jab early at Asda (opens in new tab).  

If you make an appointment in advance by using its online booking system before 2 September you’ll pay £9, otherwise it’s £9.98.  But Asda is still the cheapest place we’ve found compared with other supermarkets and chemists.  

Appointments start from 21 September and you can find your nearest store using the store locator tool (opens in new tab).

Tesco 

This year a flu jab costs £11 and you can book appointments (opens in new tab) from 19 September.

Well Pharmacy

You can find your local Well Pharmacy using the search tool (opens in new tab) and its flu vaccine appointment booking system is now open across England, Wales and Northern Ireland with Scotland to follow shortly.  

Jabs cost £15 unless you’re entitled to a free jab.

Superdrug 

Superdrug charge £15.99 a time and appointments start from 19 September.  You can sign up now for the Superdrug flu vaccination service (opens in new tab) which means you’ll get an email when booking opens for appointments.

Boots 

Boots is the one of the priciest places we’ve found for your flu jab - if you don’t qualify for a free one.   Jabs here will set you back £16.99 a shot or £21.99 if you’re in Jersey. 

You can now book appointments in advance online (opens in new tab) with jabs being given from 16 September.

Lloyds Pharmacy 

Jab will cost you £16.99 unless you’re eligible for a free one. You can now book appointments (opens in new tab) for dates towards the end of September using its postcode search tool.  Right now the earliest available date we could find was 26 September.

Sue Hayward
contributor

Sue Hayward is a personal finance and consumer journalist, broadcaster and author who regularly chats on TV and Radio on ways to get more power for your pound.  Sue’s written for a wide range of publications including the Guardian, i Paper, Good Housekeeping, Lovemoney and My Weekly. Cats, cheese and travel are Sue’s passions away from her desk!