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Flu Season Is Here: Get Your Shot at an Airport Near You

Nov. 19, 2018
5 min read
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It's flu season and whether your family is planning one trip this winter or you're a road warrior, you should consider a preventative flu shot. This is especially true given how easy illness spread on planes. To help you check this task off your to-do list, airports across the country are opening facilities that offer the flu shot and much more.

“With the holidays around the corner, more people are traveling and visiting families and friends. What many do not realize is that traveling can increase your risk of contracting flu. And flu can easily spread in confined spaces such as on an airplane,” said Serese Marotta, chief operating officer of Families Fighting Flu, a national advocacy group.

Get Your Flu Shot at an Airport

If want to get a flu shot before heading home for the holidays, there's still time. Many US airports offer travel health services in small on-site clinics or pop-up kiosks.

(Photo by Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Demographics expert and author Matt Carmichael (who refers to himself as a big TPG fan) told TPG Family that a few years back he was traveling to Nashville each month for work and noticed the airport offered flu shots. “It was simple, quick and easy. Totally recommend it.” Why did he wait until he was traveling to get the flu shot? Carmichael said, “It was one of those things where my wife and kids had managed to get their shots at the doctor and as a busy traveler I wasn't able to find any other time. But with TSA PreCheck and status on American Airlines, I knew I'd have plenty of time at the airport to comfortably knock that off the to-do list.”

Here are a few US airports currently offering flu shots:

  • SFO Medical Clinic: San Francisco Airport has a clinic specializing in travel health and urgent care. They accept checks and credit cards and will offer a full receipt for reimbursement by your health insurance company.
  • JFK Advanced Medical P.C.: At larger hubs like JFK in New York, there’s not only a medical center but a shuttle to take you to and from your appointment. This office offers the flu shot as well as all types of other vaccinations for things like tetanus, pneumonia, yellow fever, hepatitis and more.
  • UI Health O'Hare Urgent Care Clinic: At O'Hare, the medical center is affiliated with the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Science System. Throughout flu season, not only does the medical center offer the flu shot but it also sets up pop-up kiosks in Terminals 1, 2 and 3 as well.
  • CareHere! Walk-in Clinic at BNA: Every year at Nashville International Airport, this clinic — that provides both urgent and primary care at Nashville International Airport — offers the flu shot to travelers in transit.
  • Code 3 Emergency Room & Urgent Care at LAS: At Las Vegas' McCarran, you can get your flu shot at Code 3. As with other urgent care facilities located at airports, Code 3 takes many insurance plans or you can pay cash for the shot.
  • US CareWays at PHX: The newly opened US CareWays inside Drugs & More at Phoenix SkyHarbor's Terminal 4 offers a range of urgent care and other medical service, including the flu shot.
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport: In Oahu, Hawaii, there is a medical clinic on the ground floor of Terminal 2 of the Honolulu airport. Flu shots may be available. Call before stopping by: (808) 836-6643.

It's best to call your airport ahead of time to find out if there is a facility that offers flu or other travel-related vaccinations that will be open when you travel through. If you are interested in getting your kids a flu shot, be aware that age restrictions at these clinics may vary. You can also visit Vax Before Travel for a breakdown of locations offering flu and other vaccinations that you can schedule at community pharmacies and even pop-up kiosks before your trip.

How Much Will a Flu Shot Cost?

With the US medical system setup the way it is, the answer to the question "How much will it cost?" is "It depends." Flu shots are generally covered by health insurance though some policies may require a copay. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the cost for the influenza vaccination for an adult is about $20. Expect to pay an additional fee for the service provider and/or facility.

Bottom Line

While there is no 100% guaranteed way for travelers to avoid catching the flu, flu shots can help reduce your odds. Have you ever used an airport medical clinic for a flu shot or other vaccination?

Featured image by Getty Images/Cultura RF