Where to Go for Flu Shots This Cold and Flu Season
Does it matter where you get your flu shot? When choosing between drugstore clinics or your primary care provider, remember that continuity is key.
School is in full swing, the mornings are cooler, and hints of fall are all around us. But with this change in scenery also comes (cue ominous music) cold and flu season.
We’ve talked about the urgent (pun intended) questions you should ask when choosing an urgent care clinic. But what about knowing where to go for flu shots and quality care during flu season?
There are a variety of places where you can access immunizations and basic care. Before you stop by your local drugstore pharmacy (aka retail clinic), consider the benefits of visiting your neighborhood family provider – not just for flu vaccinations, but for all the additional care you need.
Continuity of care
When you frequent the ever-growing number of retail clinics in our Northern Colorado area, you’re much more likely to see a provider you’ve never met. While this might seem insignificant when all you need is a flu shot, there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind.
- Since patient medical records are not always shared between retail clinics and primary care offices, receiving care (and yes, immunizations) in multiple settings can make monitoring and managing your care more challenging for your primary provider. This can lead to potential mix-ups, misunderstandings, and inconsistencies in your care over time.
- The reason for your visit might be more complicated than you think. Flu strains and other viruses affect different people in different ways, particularly in infant and elderly populations. Retail clinics are not always equipped to make complex diagnoses or spot underlying, chronic conditions.
At AFM’s local primary care offices and urgent care clinics, you can expect ongoing relationships with providers who know you and see the bigger picture of your care needs. By visiting a provider who sees you regularly or one who has easy access to your complete medical records, you can:
- Experience greater consistency in the long-term care you receive
- Know that your medical records are always up to date
- Be sure your other care and immunization needs are met
- Catch any serious issues early on
Health care costs & insurance
It’s true that nearby retail clinics often have set prices for services and offer lower costs than other health care options. But a visit to your local primary care doctor for a flu shot, checkup, or diagnosis might not cost you as much as you think.
AFM accepts a wide variety of insurance plans at both our primary care offices and urgent care locations so patients aren’t limited in the care they can receive. We also try to keep costs down by providing preventative care that keeps patients out of hospitals. And of course, accurately recording and referencing patient details in our shared electronic medical record (EMR) system helps us cut down on expensive redundancies and extra tests.
Many of our locations also offer access to affordable prescriptions through onsite pharmacies – helping you avoid an extra trip and get the right medicine at the right price. Plus, getting a flu shot from one of our primary providers is completely free under most insurance plans. And with our Saturday flu shot clinics, you don’t even have to pay for an office visit.
Convenient access to care
Oftentimes, people decide to visit drugstore pharmacies and clinics due to the convenience factor. And with walk-in accessibility, extended hours, and abundant locations, it’s no wonder.
At AFM, we value every aspect of patient care and want to ensure complete consistency in your health journey. Which is why we do our best to make high-quality, hometown health care as accessible and convenient as possible. Get your flu shot, general checkups, and even urgent medical needs met with:
- Saturday flu shot clinics – for all-day access to the right immunizations for patients of all ages
- Accessible urgent care locations – open to existing patients and the general public, with extended weekday and weekend hours and no appointments necessary
- Shared electronic medical records among every AFM location – to save you time filling out tedious paperwork
What’s the verdict?
Retail clinics and drugstore pharmacies have a number of pros, including convenience, affordability, and increased access to basic care and flu shots. Yet they should not and cannot replace your primary care provider. Our family-focused providers at AFM are doing more to make your care experiences through cold and flu season as easy, affordable, and pleasant as possible.