Costco – Online Booking for Flu Shots Now Open!
I hope everyone is well! I know that interest in getting a flu shot this year has increased (see article) and Costco has just launched it’s online portal to sign up for flu shots! Some, but not all, locations have open appointments starting Tuesday, October 13, 2020! In Alberta, flu shots start on October 19, 2020. The appointments are scheduled for 10 minutes long and they have appointments every 10 minutes. There were lots of appointments available in Abbotsford, BC when I checked this morning!
If you want an idea of how busy the flu shot clinics are getting, London Drugs in Vancouver (Granville & Georgia) is booked until November 18 and many other stores are completely full and not taking anymore bookings. It might take a long time to get a doctors appointment due to Covid-19 restrictions and some pharmacies (like Shoppers) are doing clinics on a walk in basis. I’ll be scheduling one to coincide with a future Costco trip.
No Membership? No Problem
Costco Pharmacies are open to non-members throughout North America! Anyone can make an appointment, if you don’t have a Costco Membership, just tell the greeter at the front that you are attending the pharmacy and they will let you in! This loophole has to do something with provincial pharmacy regulations, but seems to be true in all Canada and the US as well. https://customerservice.costco.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/796/~/do-i-need-a-membership-to-purchase-prescription-drugs%3F
How much does it cost?
If you aren’t eligible for a free (publicly funded) flu shot, the cost is generally between $25-$30. Most pharmacists can find reason to give you a free flu shot, due to their extensive list of people who qualify for a publicly funded flu shot. In BC, you qualify for a free flu shot even if you are a household contact of anyone in the high risk category.
In B.C., the inactivated influenza vaccine or flu shot is provided free to the following groups of people.
- Children 6 months to less than 5 years of age
- Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy during the influenza season
- Seniors 65 years and older
- Residents of any age living in residential care, assisted living or other group facilities
- Indigenous people
- Children and teenagers required to take Aspirin® or ASA for long periods of time due to a medical condition
- Children and adults with certain medical conditions, including:
- Heart or lung disorders that require regular medical care, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cystic fibrosis
- Kidney disease, chronic liver disease such as hepatitis, diabetes, cancer, anemia or weakened immune system
- Those with health conditions causing difficulty breathing, swallowing or a risk of choking on food or fluids, such as people with severe brain damage, spinal cord injury, seizures or neuromuscular disorders
- Those who are very obese
People able to transmit or spread influenza to those at high risk of serious illness from influenza including:
- Household contacts of people at high risk
- Household contacts, caregivers and daycare staff of children under 5 years of age
- Doctors, nurses and others working in health care settings, including long-term care facilities, who have contact with patients
- Visitors to health care facilities and other patient care locations
- Inmates of provincial correctional institutions
- Those who provide care or service to people at high risk in potential outbreak settings such as cruise ships
Other groups who are eligible to receive the flu shot for free include:
- People who provide essential community services such as police officers, firefighters, ambulance attendants, and corrections workers
- People who work with live poultry