Washington offering free flu vaccinations at Safeway, Albertsons for uninsured adults
In collaboration with Safeway and Albertsons, the Washington State Department of Health is offering no-cost influenza (flu) vaccinations for uninsured adults.
The goal is to help prevent flu illness during the COVID-19 pandemic as health officials worry that the presence of both viruses could lead to an overcrowding of hospitals and of the state’s health care system.
Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County, has previously warned that hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices are likely to be busy caring for COVID-19 and other health needs this fall and winter, so getting a flu vaccine can help keep you and your family away from those settings.
“Flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of getting the flu by about half, and importantly also reduces the risk for severe illness and hospitalization for those who do get the flu,” Duchin said. “That will both reduce your risk for becoming ill and for needing medical attention. It also helps ensure hospitals and medical resources are available for COVID-19 patients and others who need them.”
In Washington state, 23 Albertsons and Safeway pharmacies are offering the flu vaccine free through June 2021 for any uninsured adults. There is no administration fee charge and no proof of residency or immigration status required. Find the list of participating locations online here.
Everyone six months and older is encouraged to get a flu vaccine, especially those at increased risk for severe influenza.
Adults who have insurance are also encouraged to get a flu shot as soon as possible. Flu vaccinations for those aged 19 and older are covered by most insurance companies and by Medicare and Apple Health. Everyone under 19 is able to get a flu vaccine at no cost in Washington.
According to the last update from the state Department of Health, flu activity in the state is still low. That said, it’s still early in the season. Luckily, Dr. Duchin and others have said that some of the protections we’re taking to limit the spread of COVID-19 — reducing contacts, keeping our distance, and wearing masks — could have the added benefit of protecting against the spread of flu as well. View the DOH’s weekly flu activity reports, find a pharmacy or clinic, and learn more about the flu here.